Nuclear terrorist attacks are becoming a growing concern throughout the world, forcing countries (including France) to consider new measures to deal with potential threats, in particular by guaranteeing the safety of the population. The latter must be effectively protected and rescued. So, solutions in the event of contamination, whether external (healthy skin without adsorption) or internal (healthy skin with adsorption, injured skin, inhalation, ingestion) must be found. Nuclear terrorism involves the use of radioactive materials or nuclear explosives, or attacks on nuclear facilities by individuals with the aim of intimidating or spreading terror by creating a threat. The most accessible nuclear weapon for a terrorist group is the radiological bomb, also known as the « dirty bomb ». Additionnally, alongside the dirty bomb, the range of means that can be used for terrorist purposes has been expanded in recent years to include the possible use of radioactive products in an attempt to contaminate soil, water, air, vegetation, livestock, buildings, materials, installations, equipment, infrastructures, etc. In addition to the terrorist threat, radionuclide contamination of humans can also occur within nuclear facilities, through malicious acts, climatic events or technical failures. For example, nuclear safety must be ensured at reactors during reprocessing, fuel fabrication, the transport of nuclear materials and during dismantling operations (civil or military), all of which present a risk of contamination.
In this context, the aim of the CATCH project is to develop relevant hydrogels based on functional copolymers for effective decontamination. The development of hydrogels capable of treating both healthy and, above all, damaged skin represents a breakthrough compared with existing solutions. This original galenic form (hydrogel) will enable greater local efficacy (no run-off).  The non-toxicity of the complexing copolymers developed, their multi-functionality (high complexation capacity), and their inability to cross the skin barrier (due to the high molar mass of the polymers) have enabled us to overcome a number of scientific hurdles in the field of external and internal actinide decontamination of the body. The hydrogels developed could be used in any field situation, generating little radioactive waste by volume.

Publié le 04/02/2024