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IUR International Workshop on worldwide harmonization of radioecology networks: launching the "FORUM"
2014-01-22 - Environmental radioactivity

[ 19-20 June 2014 - La Baume, Aix en Provence, France ]

IUR organized an “International workshop on worldwide harmonization of radioecology networks”. It gathered 15 leaders and/or high-level representatives from various networks and international organizations active in the field, on 19-20 June 2014, in La Baume, Aix en Provence, France.

Photo story of the workshop on this link.

Why such an International Workshop ? 

Many specialized networks have been designed in the past years to meet specific radioecological objectives, whether regional or sectorial (purpose-oriented). Regional networks deal with an array of radioecological issues related to their territories, such as waste problems, environmental modelling, prevention of impacts, regulation, etc…

In Europe, a network of excellence in radioecology has been set up in order to design a strategic research agenda. It is currently being expected to become part of a European platform for radiation protection. Sectorial networks are more problem-oriented, often with wider international representativeness, but restricted to one specific issue like radioactive waste, low-level atmospheric contamination, etc. Other kind of sectorial networks result from international agreements for wide environment surveillance.

Despite the Fukushima accident and some political decisions elsewhere, the nuclear industry is starting, or expected, to spread beyond the small historical club of nuclearized countries in response to growing energetic demands throughout the world. In this context, the construction of a process for worldwide international harmonization of R&D programmes and efforts in radioecology is becoming highly desirable. This harmonization process would have the objectives to optimize efficiency, to avoid duplications, to optimize efficient exploitation of existing infrastructures, to support harmonised and coherent regulatory developments, to help the development of well informed, balanced, and adapted consensus, whilst meeting the specificities of problem-oriented or regional objectives.

IUR, founded on its large and long-existing international representation, with a current membership spread in nearly 60 countries worldwide, has now identified the need to bridge all such regional and/or sectorial networks together in order to promote the emergence of a worldwide coordinated development process for radioecology.

Objectives of the International Workshop

IUR has therefore decided to convene a first Workshop in June 2014 to initiate the co-construction process and identify a common agreed framework by means of which a worldwide coordination in radioecology could be achieved.

The leaders and/or high-level representatives from the various networks, or similar entities, have been  invited to present their network activity and organisation. On-going efforts invested in identifying priorities for the future were presented and discussed (European Radioecology Alliance, IUR, UNSCEAR, ICRP, Arctic Council, etc). Finally, conclusions are drawn on the way forward with particular attention given to designing an international framework instrument for worldwide coordination in radioecology.

The conclusions from this Workshop will be presented to the wide scientific audience on the occasion of the next ICRER International Conference to be held in Barcelona (Spain) in September 2014. They will be drawn with especial reference to discussions related to possibly establishing a new IUR Task Group that would be dedicated to initiate the design of an international framework instrument for worldwide coordination in radioecology and to follow up this wide effort toward successful harmonization.

Workshop content

Of the 20 international networks and organizations invited, representatives from 15 were able to attend and participate in the initial discussions. These included regional and problem-oriented networks as well as networks led by international organizations (Table 1).

List of networks/organizations attending the IUR International workshop on harmonization of radioecology networks

Regional networks
SPERA, South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association
ALLIANCE, European Radioecology Alliance
STAR, Strategy for Allied radioecology, European network of excellence
COMET, Coordination and implementation of a pan-European instrument for radioecology
NCoRE, US National Center for Radioecology
Asian Network, IUR Task group
Fukushima University, IES
Arctic Council, AMAP program
OSPAR, Oslo-Paris Convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic
Networks led by international organizations
IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency (Coordination Group on Radiation protection of the Environment, MODARIA program on modelling and data for radiological impact assessment)
ICRP, International Commission on Radiological Protection (Framework for environmental risk assessment based on reference animals and plants)
SETAC, Society for Environmental Toxicity And Chemistry
IUR, International Union of radioecology
Problem-oriented Networks established by professionals
BIOPROTA, International collaboration on biosphere research for radioactive waste disposal
Ro5, “Ring of Five” IUR Task group on Low-level atmospheric contamination watch and surveillanc

Overview Program of the IUR workshop on harmonization of radioecology networks

The two-day workshop program was established in order to review the activities and organization of each network, to share information on their respective research agendas and priorities, and to agree on a way forward. A pdf version of the programme mentioning the workshop participants can be downloaded here.

Thursday 19 June 2014
Presentation of the 15 international networks and organizations
Goals and objectives
Organization (countries represented, legal status, executive operation…)
On-going R&D activities of relevance
Perspectives and orientations for the future
On-going efforts of prioritization in research and expertise
 Friday 20 June 2014
Discussion on global harmonization and competence sharing
Need for, and objectives of, global harmonization in Radioecology
Constructing global priorities for worldwide research and expertise (accidents, routine planned releases, legacies, solid waste disposal)
Constructing an efficient framework instrument for worldwide harmonization (existing mechanisms, e.g. IUR, functions, roles, responsibilities, links and interfaces
Next steps and workplan
Conclusions and drafting communication at ICRER (rapporteur: G. Smith)
Close

Detailed Program of the IUR workshop on harmonization of radioecology networks

A pdf version of the programme mentioning the workshop participants can be downloaded here.

Thursday 19 June 2014
09:00-09:30
General Introduction to the Workshop
Historical perspectives
Networks represented
Objectives of the Workshop / download
F. Bréchignac
-
09:30-10:45
Introduction to the networks: Global networks
IUR / download
SETAC / download
IAEA / download
ICRP / download
-
F. Bréchignac
L. Kapustka
T. Yankovich
K. Higley
10:45-11:00 Break  
-
11:00-12:15

Introduction to the networks: Regional/topical networks - Part 1

BIOPROTA / download
Arctic Council / download
Alliance / download
SPERA / download
NCoRE / download
-
K. Smith
K.E. Frogg
F. Hardeman
A. Bollhöfer
W. Kuhne
12:15-14:00
Lunch  
14:00-15:00
Introduction to the networks: Regional/topical networks - Part 2
 
Asian network / download
Fukushima University / download
Ring of Five / download
OSPAR / download
S. Yoshida
K. Nanba
O. Masson
K.S. Leonard
15:00-15:50
On-going efforts of prioritisation in research and expertise :
 
Global networks - Part 1
IUR / download
SETAC / download
IAEA / download
ICRP / download
F. Bréchignac
L. Kapustka
T. Yankovich
K. Higley
15:50-16:10
Break  
-
16:10-18:00
On-going efforts of prioritisation in research and expertise :
 
Regional networks - Part 2
BIOPROTA / download
Arctic Council / download
STAR SRA / download
COMET Roadmap / download
SPERA / download
NCoRE / download
Asian network / download
Fukushima University / download
South American network / download
Ring of Five / download
OSPAR / download
-
K. Smith
K. E. Frogg
T. Hinton
H.-Vandenhove
A. Bollhoefer
W. Kuhne
S. Yoshida
K. Nanba
J-M. Godoy
O. Masson
K.S. Leonard
18:00-18:15 Interim conclusions to prepare open discussion  
Friday 20 June 2014

09:30-12:30

Break at 11:00

Discussion on global harmonization and competence sharing
Rapporteur: G. Smith
Need for, and objectives of, global harmonisation and coordination
Constructing global priorities for research and expertise
Accidents
Routine planned releases
Legacies
Solid waste disposal
Constructing an efficient framework instrument for worldwide coordination
Existing mechanisms, e.g. IUR
Functions
Roles
Responsibilities
Links and interfaces
Next steps and work plan
 
12:30-14:00 Lunch  
14:00-16:00
Conclusions and drafting communication at ICRER
Rapporteur: G. Smith
 
16:00
Close  

 

Workshop conclusion: IUR initiates the “FORUM”

Discussions were held during the workshop, sharing views and prospects on the harmonization process. Particular issues raised have been to work towards a better description and common understanding of the respective roles and functions of the various networks within the overall scene of radioecology R&D, the interface with international regulatory bodies, and how consensus on assessment of risk (e.g. including stressors other than ionizing radiation) can be achieved and communicated. Better clarity on this issue was achieved among the participating networks, and very positively received as a clue to better justify the value of their radioecology work in support of decision makers. This issue, which will be analysed further and presented in more details in the near future, is particularly relevant to respond to recurrent critiques with respect to a potentially artificial duplication of activities in various R&D programs.

Overall, the 15 network leaders and/or representatives participating have collectively decided to launch the “FORUM” as a tool to promote an international harmonization process for radioecology worldwide. At this stage, the instruments expected to support future FORUM actions have not yet been worked out, and will form the purpose of a future workshop, but consensus has been elaborated on the 3 objectives of the FORUM:

(1) communication,

(2) global integration and construction of consensus,

(3) maintenance of expertise.

See more detail about the FORUM output and decisions

The worldwide harmonization of radioecology networks should also integrate non-nuclear networks dealing with similar environmental risk issues (as already embarked with SETAC). The basic ecological principles and science are essentially the same and mutual benefits are expected from such improved liaisons. This is why IUR currently seeks to promote further discussion through UNSCEAR and with the UNEP family of environmental programs of relevance (climate change, biodiversity, etc…).

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