Institute of Resource Ecology
The Institute of Resource Ecology (IRE) performs research to protect humans and the environment from hazards caused by pollutants resulting from technical processes that produce energy and raw materials.
Treating technology and ecology as a unity is the major scientific challenge in assuring the safety of technical processes and gaining their public acceptance. Our research is conducted within the Research Field Energy of the Helmholtz-Association. The IRE investigates the ecological risks exerted by radioactive and non-radioactive metals in the context of nuclear waste disposal, the production of energy in nuclear power plants and in processes along the value chain of metalliferous raw materials.
Spectroscopic, microscopic, and biological methods are implemented in controlled areas allowing radiochemical studies that can be performed only at a few places in Europe. The Institute runs the XAS station for Radiochemistry of the Rossendorf Beamline, at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble (France).
The gained knowledge contributes to the following two Helmholtz-Programmes:
Programme: Nuclear Safety Research
Research and development focuses on the assessment and reduction of risks related to the nuclear fuel cycle, particularly the disposal of nuclear waste, and the production of energy in nuclear power plants. Accordingly work in this Programme addresses two Topics.
Safety Research for Nuclear Waste Disposal.
The transport behaviour of radiotoxic elements in the bio- and geo-sphere is studied. Particularly, the influence of biota, ranging from bacteria to higher multicellular organisms, on the migration process is little understood. Our research advances the knowledge of molecular processes at the interface between geo- and bio-systems, which govern the transition of long-lived radionuclides into the food chain.
Safety Research for Nuclear Reactors.
Our research focuses on the safety aspects of current and future reactors to advise policy and to effectively influence the international safety standards and practices. This requires sound research on the development of methods for analyses of transients and postulated accidents.
Programme: Energy Efficiency, Materials and Resources
Resources Technologies. Research in this Topic is focused on the description of the environmental relevant effects based on the process technologies of resource recovery. Our research activities are concentrated on the mobility of those elements in the environment that are eventually released during processes occurring along the raw mineral and raw metalliferous resource chain.
A brief review of the History of the institute may also be of interest.
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