National center for radiation protection and computational physics

Responsible: Dr. Francesco Bochicchio
phone: (+39) 06 4990 6212
service cell: (+39) 338 6692276
executive secretariat: (+39) 06 4990 6214

Center activities

Protecting and promoting public health through defense from the risks deriving from exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, the optimization of the medical uses of radiation and the development of physical-computational methods for health (Gazzetta Ufficiale no. 88 of 15/04 / 2016).

The National center for radiation protection and computational physics, established with the recent reorganization of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), has been operating since 1 January 2017, but inherits most of the radiation protection and health physics activities carried out by the ISS since its inception in 1934.

Radiation protection in all its areas of intervention and the numerical simulation tools typical of computational physics together with the physical-theoretical models, in an integrated approach for health promotion gathered in a single structure.

The protection and prevention activities from the effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and the optimization of their use have a clear health relevance in many areas:

  • medical field (radiation used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes)
  • indoor and outdoor environments (radon in homes and workplaces, contamination from accidents in nuclear plants, industrial use of artificial radionuclides and materials containing natural radionuclides, presence of radionuclides in food and drinking water, electromagnetic fields generated by various sources, radiation solar and UV, ...)
  • consumer products (mobile phones, toys, ...)
  • beauty treatment sector (tanning lamps, laser hair removal)

Computational physics is an integral part of the Centre's activities, as modeling and numerical simulation approaches play an increasingly important role in understanding biological systems and their interaction with the outside world, including radiation. Some computational physics activities are integrated into larger scientific communities, such as the one that studies a particularly complex system such as the brain, and lead to the development of useful skills in the field of computational biology and in the study of the disturbances of the dynamics of the central nervous system induced from external agents, including exposure to low doses of radiation.

In the institutional-regulatory area, following recent EURATOM (European Atomic Energy Community) directives, the Center deals with the control of radioactivity in water intended for human consumption and the application of the new rules for the protection of the population and workers from ionizing radiation. The institutional activity on non-ionizing radiation is also intense. Experts from the Center participate in various international and national commissions in the field of radiation protection and express numerous opinions on these issues for Parliament, Regions and Municipalities.

Since January 2018, the Center has been performing the functions of WHO Collaboration Center on Radiation and Health, with activities in 5 sectors:

  • radon protection
  • protection from radioactivity in drinking water and food
  • medical exposures
  • nuclear and radiological emergencies
  • exposure to non-ionizing radiation

Still on the issues of radiation protection and health physics, the Center carries out training activities for operators and information for the population through courses and thematic websites, so that not only radiation protection, but also conscious attention (scientifically based) towards the health effects of radiation exposure is increased in the country.

The research activity of the Center takes place through Italian and European projects, of which those in progress are:
European projects, on:

Italian projects, on:

  • measurement techniques and reduction of radon concentration in large buildings
  • exhalation of radon and other gases from the soil
  • exposure and health status of population near nuclear power plants
  • industrial use of materials containing natural radionuclides
  • radon in the workplace
  • protection of workers from electromagnetic fields