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Laboratory of RadioToxicology - LRT

Published on 16 February 2024
In the nuclear industry environment there is a possible risk of internal contamination of workers ​by alpha-emitting particles contained in nuclear fuels.
​​​Sophie LE MAOUT
Principal investigator


The main mission of the Laboratory of RadioToxicology (LRT), which has an infrastructure permitting the use of these materials, is to provide information that may lead to the improvement of radiological protection of nuclear industry workers potentially exposed to alpha-emitting actinides (by inhalation or wounds) especially in facilities where Mixed uranium and plutonium OXides (MOX) fuel is produced. 

For regulatory radiation protection purposes exposure limits are controlled and the Dose Per Unit Intake (DPUI) is calculated according to recommendations from the International Commission of Radiological Protection (ICRP). For risk assessment and intake determination LRT is able to provide experimental data on the characterization of chemical and physical properties of given compounds, dissolution parameters and biokinetics in vivo for different actinides as well as actinide-induced carcinogenesis. 

These experimental data can contribute to the improvement of computer models and lead to a more accurate assessment of the risk and ultimately amelioration of ICRP recommendations. However, because the lack of some scientific knowledge, ICRP recommendations cannot cover accurately all the fields of risk assessment which include for example 1) influence of alpha dose distribution in occurrence of stochastic and deterministic lesions, 2) optimisation of health benefits associated with DiethyleneTriaminePentaAcetate (DTPA) chelation therapy which can be administered to humans to increase excretion of Plutonium (Pu)/Americium (Am)/Curium (Cm). 

LRT in close collaboration with the nuclear industry carries out work to improve the understanding of processes involved in different biological phenomena which could contribute to the alteration of actinide biokinetics as well as development of pathologies. Therefore, experimental models (in vitro and in vivo rats, non human primates) as well as simulation using computer software developed by LRT are used to increase the knowledge of radionuclide biokinetics and to improve the accuracy of dose and risk assessment. LRT thus has a multidisciplinary structure that contributes significantly to the interpretation of human and occupational environment data using both experimental and modeling approaches.​