Discovered over a century ago, radioactivity was synonymous with modernity and progress before the Second World War. Now it is rather synonymous with mutations, cancer or threat (nuclear accident or war). However, radioactivity is primarily a natural phenomenon at the heart of our planet. Because of their geology, Massifs Armoricain and Central are characterized by the presence of uranium veins resulting in a higher level of natural radioactivity. Some of these veins were exploited during the second half of the twentieth century. Today, only a few studies have focused on the redevelopment of these sites and the effects of chronic radiation exposure on living organisms.

ZATU’s goal is to develop a multidisciplinary approach confronting the views of biologists, chemists, geographers , ecologists, geologists, physicians , physicists, sociologists on life in environments characterized by chronic natural or enhanced natural radiation . The ZA research program is built around three main themes centered respectively on human and social sciences, on radio- and geochemistry, and on biology and ecology. The ZA provides a framework for interaction between these research areas and therefore offers opportunities for developing truly interdisciplinary projects with a systemic approach. Indeed, interactions and strong feedback exist between living systems, human beings and the long-term future of radionuclides. Human acts on his environment through mining, large-scale development, and post-mining management), creating new life habitats and impacting the long term fake of radionuclides (management of water flows, introduction of radioactive material confinement cover , …). Similarly, the presence of radioactivity impacts the relationship of man to his environment in terms of understanding risk and implementing prevention process. Finally, if the radioactivity affects living systems, living systems can also act on the fate of radionuclides.  For instance, bacteria can induce change in speciation.