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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


Fields of activity

Nuclear safety: Protection against malicious acts

The revision of the agreement on the technical support provided by IRSN to the Minister of Energy led to the signing of a text in 2015.

The new agreement will run for a period of five years. Its priorities respond to the challenges imposed by legislation and regulations on the protection and control of nuclear materials, nuclear facilities and nuclear material during transport.

 

Protecting nuclear facilities against malicious acts

Experts of the Institute, officialy appointed as "nuclear materials inspectors", are mandated by the Senior Defense and Security Official to conduct inspections at facilities holding nuclear materials. These inspections concern :

  • systems for receiving and shipping nuclear materials
  • controlling access to nuclear materials and sites
  • remote monitoring and periodic testing of physical protection systems
  • implementation of measures applicable to annual physical inventories. 

Nuclear materials inspectors also assist at local exercices to observe how local security forces implement the procedure and emergency instructions prepared by plant operators.

Topics IRSN worked on in 2015:

  • Assessment of the first studies on malicious acts
  • Strengthening the interface between safety and security at EDF facilities
  • Security exercices involving nuclear materials, nuclear facilities  and nuclear mateial transport.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2015 - Chapter Activities.

Topics IRSN worked on in 2014:

  • Participation in the visit organized by Andra at Bure to show the European Commission the Cigeo project. The visit provided insight into how Euratom would control the repository and the waste packages placed there
  • National exercise organized at the Cadarache site to prepare for possible complimentary access for IAEA
  • Participation in the IAEA four-yearly safeguards symposium on the implementation of international measures for the verifications and control of nuclear material
  • Organisation of the first training session on nuclear material control, organized under the Euratom Treaty and the French Safeguards Agreement.

 For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2014 - Chapter Activities / Security and Non-proliferation.

 

Protecting nuclear materials during transports

IRSN Transport Operations: monitoring a shipment at the Command Post at the Prefecture in Metz.Since 2010 and the publication of the Order of August 18, 2010 on the protection and control of nuclear materials in transport (excluding nuclear deterrent materials), the powers of the Minister in charge of national transport of nuclear materials are delegated to the IRSN deputy director general.

Assisted by IRSN Transport Operations Center, he is responsible for managing nuclear materials transport, processing applications to authorize transport, monitoring shipments and sending prior notice of shipments to the relevant authorities.

In 2015, IRSN :

  • processed 42 requests for technical notices on the physical protection of nuclear materials during transport
  • processed 1 481 transport requests and monitored 877 national shipments, during which no significant incidents were reported
  • organized 92 inspections including 62 technical controls on approved equipment for transportation of nuclear material and 46 inspections during transport.

 For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2015 - Chapter Activities.

In 2014, IRSN:

  • processed 47 requests for technical notices on the physical protection of nuclear materials during transport
  • processed 1318 transport requests and monitored 807 national shipments, during which no significant incidents were reported
  • organized 213 inspections including 66 technical controls on approved equipment for transportation of nuclear material and 43 inspections during transport.

In 2013, IRSN:

  • processed 36 requests for technical notices on the physical protection of nuclear materials during transport
  • processed 1435 transport requests and monitored 793 domestic shipments, during which no significant incidents were reported
  • organized 115 inspections including 76 technical controls on approved equipment for transportation of nuclear material and 39 inspections during transport.

In 2012, IRSN:

  • processed 44 requests for technical notices on the physical protection of nuclear materials during transport
  • processed 1482 transport requests and monitored 740 domestic shipments, during which no significant incidents were reported
  • carried out 68 technical checks on approved equipment for transportation of nuclear materials and 42 inspections during transport
  • upgraded its transport management and monitoring systems which were more than 15 years old.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2012 - Chapter 03: Activities / Security and Non-proliferation.  

In 2011, IRSN:

  • processed 42 requests for technical notices on the physical protection of nuclear materials during transport
  • processed 1722 transport requests and monitored 1598 domestic shipments, during which no significant incidents were reported
  • monitered international shipment, such as the return of vitrified waste tah had been conditioned at La Hague to Germany and the arrival of spent fuel from the Netherlands or Italy
  • carried out 100 technical checks on approved equipment for transportation of nuclear materials.

For more information about this topic, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2011 - Chapter 03: Activities / Security and Non-proliferation.

 

Regulatory text reviews

A nuclear facility security fence.IRSN participates in the review of French regulations on the protection and control of nuclear materials, both at facilities and during transportation.

Main regulations concerned in 2012:

  • Participation in the working group set up by the MEDDE to draft regulations on the security of radioactive sources
  • Participation in the working group coordinated by the Ministry of Defense on the transport of equipment necessary for the implementation of the nuclear deterrence policy.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2012 - Chapter 03: Activities / Security and Non-proliferation.  

Main regulations concerned in 2011:

  • Publication of the new regulatory framework for the protection and control of nuclear materials.

For more information about this topic, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2011 - Chapter 03: Activities / Security and Non-proliferation.

Main regulations concerned in 2010:

  • an order relating to licence application procedures for holders of nuclear materials
  • an order specifying the procedures for studying the protection of nuclear materials and facilities
  • an order defining the physical protection measures to be implemented by the licensee
  • an order on the conditions for approving nuclear material shipment methods.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2010 - Chapter 03: Activities / Security and Non-proliferation. 

     

International activities

Often at the request of IAEA or under the aegis of the European Commission, IRSN is involved in the organization of training courses or seminars taking places around the world concerning :

  • security culture
  • security of radioactive sources
  • security of transport operations
  • physical protection of nuclear facilities
  • dealing with internal threats
  • management of a nuclear emergency caused by a serious malicious attack
  • design basis threats
  • physical protection of nuclear materials.

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