Partner 1: Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK•CEN), Belgium 

The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, SCK•CEN, is a foundation of public utility with more than 700 employees. The statutory mission gives the priority to research on problems of societal concern; safety of nuclear installations, radiation protection, safe treatment and disposal of radioactive waste, safeguards. SCK•CEN has a reputation as an outstanding centre of education and training. SCK•CEN is member of the ALLIANCE (President), MELODI (Secretary) and NERIS (President R&D Committee). Work for COMET will be undertaken by several research units: (1) Biosphere Impact Studies (BIS), key research group involved, has strong expertise in terrestrial, freshwater and marine radioecology, biological effects of ionising and mixed contaminant exposure conditions on plants and is strongly involved in human and environmental impact assessments. The group coordinated and participated in several European research and expert projects (e.g. RECOVER, PHYTOR, CARE, TACIS-Kyrgyzstan) dealing with contaminated land/site management and impact assessments. The group is WP-leader in the STAR project. Its members have been actively involved in e.g. the IAEA BIOMASS and EMRAS programmes. (2) Crisis Management and Decision Support (CMD) has been involved in several national and European R&D programmes related to nuclear emergency management and/or decision support (e.g. EURANOS, RODOS MIGRATION, FARMING, DAONEM, SAMEN, MOSES, TMT, DETECT) and is actually participant in PREPARE. (3) Radiobiology (RDB) has a long experience in radiation biology, co-ordinates CEREBRAD and contributes to e.g. DOREMI, PRO-CARDIO and are strongly involved in MELODI. SCK•CEN will co-ordinate the project and will contribute to all WPs. 

Staff members contributing to COMET 

Dr. Hildegarde Vandenhove, has 20 years’ experience in terrestrial radioecology (soil-plant transfers, remediation, effect and multiple stressor studies, EIA); since 10 years head of BIS and since 5 year also Deputy Institute Manager of Environment Health and Safety (EHS). Has coordinated several European projects (e.g. RECOVER, PHYTOR, CARE, TACIS). Involved in/coordinates national human and environmental impact assessment projects. WP-leader in STAR and FUTURAE. Assists Frank Hardeman, SCK•CEN, in his function as President of the ALLIANCE. Seats in governing board of IUR, active participant of IAEA programmes. Will Co-ordinate the COMET project (WP1), contributes mainly to WP2.2 and co-ordinates SCK•CEN work within COMET. 

Dr. Nathalie Impens, with 10 years experience in project management and coordination in waste management and low dose research, will be responsible for the administrative coordination of the COMET project. Being strongly involved in the MELODI Association's Secretariat and in the OPERRA proposal, she will ensure together with Dr. Frank Hardeman, Institute director of EHS at SCK•CEN, President of the ALLIANCE, Secretary to MELODI, that the progress in COMET and OPERRA are fine-tuned, to ensure efficient approach. 

Dr. Nele Horemans is plant physiologist with a longstanding expertise in mechanisms of plant responses to various stresses. Within BIS, she is responsible for assessing effects of radionuclides, radiation and mixed contaminants on two model plants (A. thaliana and L. minor) on physiological as well as molecular level. Strongly involved in STAR. She will lead work for SCK•CEN in WP4 and contribute to WP2. 

Dr. Lieve Sweeck has more than 15 years' experience in modelling of radionuclide distribution and transport in the environment. Involved in several international collaborative studies on biosphere modeling (BIOMASS, RESTRAT, EMRAS) and national safety assessment studies of radioactive waste disposals. Strongly involved in STAR. Contributes mainly to COMET WP3 and WP2. 

Dr. Nathalie Vanhoudt is experienced in stress response mechanisms on molecular and genetic level in A. thaliana after exposure to uranium, ionizing radiation and heavy metals. In addition, she gained knowledge in multiple stressor research. Strongly involved in STAR. She will mostly contribute to WP4. 

Dr. Johan Camps, PhD in nuclear and radiation physics has 20 years’ experience in radiation dosimetry, radioactivity measurements and atmospheric dose and dispersion modelling. Head CMD. Acts as radiological expert in the framework of the Belgian federal nuclear emergency plan. WP leader in PREPARE. Involved in WP3. 

Dr. Sarah Baatout is head of the Radiobiology Unit and has more than 15 years’ experience in cell biology and biochemistry and radiobiology and has been/is involved in many EC projects (e.g. DOREMI, CEREBRAD, EPI-CT). 

Dr. Catrinel Turcanu, PhD in multi-criteria decision analysis, has 18 years expertise in emergency management, radiological evaluations, DSS, decision-aid methods, agricultural countermeasures, stakeholder involvement, public opinion research. Participated in several EC projects in the domain of nuclear emergency management. She and Gaston Meskens will contribute to mostly consensus meetings and ethical issues (WP2, WP5).