Studies into the impact of radiation on humans and the environment: radioecological research and biosphere models
Nuclear activities inevitably affect man and his natural environment. In order to assess this impact correctly we need to understand the behaviour and dispersion of radioactive substances in the environment. Only when armed with this knowledge can we accurately assess the impact of radiation on humans and the environment and take appropriate measures to limit it. All the above studies are categorised as biosphere impact studies.
SCK•CEN performs a wide range of laboratory and field experiments to gain a better insight into the processes that govern the dispersion of radioactive substances in the environment. Using this information we have developed dispersion models. A good example is a simulation model that charts the interaction between groundwater, soil and plants. Perennials absorb groundwater and thus contribute to the dispersion of radioactivity in the environment. We also study the impact of radiation on plants.
All this knowledge enables us to develop scientific models that predict the radiological doses humans and the environment will be subjected to.
Our researchers also look at how we can prevent the impact of radiation and radiological contamination of the environment by developing counter measures. We study waste disposal, industries that use naturally occurring radioactive materials, routine emissions by the nuclear industry, nuclear incidents, etc.