IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



Ended research programs

To enable it to carry out relevant expert assessments, IRSN develops its own research programs, with priority given to national and international collaboration through creating partnerships and mixed research units. The Institute also participates in numerous international research programs.
For IRSN, this means anticipating future questions on changes and control of risks from nuclear activities and developing new research themes on accidents and crisis management where IRSN supports the public authorities.
A few ended research programs are detailed in the page below.

Safety in nuclear facilities


The ASAMPSA2 project - Advanced Safety Assessment Methodologies: Level 2 Probabilistic Safety Assessment - was coordinated by the IRSN, and included 21 organisations from 12 European countries.


The BEMUSE project  - for Best-Estimate Methods – Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation - was an international project coordinated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in which IRSN was involved.


The BESTAIR (Beryllium Source Term due to an Accident in the ITER Experimental Reactor) project was led by IRSN in 2013-2014, with the aim of better assessing the potential release of beryllium into the environment in the event of an accident at the ITER facility.

The COLOSS project aimed at improving severe accident codes.


The EURSAFE network consisted in a concerted action in the fifth framework program of the European Commission on sever accidents. 


The main objective was to distribute the severe accident integral code ASTEC (Accident Source Term Evaluation Code), jointly developed by IRSN and GRS, to European partners in order to apply the validation strategy issued from the VASA project within the 4th FwP and achieve a first evaluation of code capabilities.


The IFAT collaboration aimed study consequences of Chernobyl accident by studying the safety of the sarcophagus enclosing the damaged reactor, the accident's health and radioecological impact.

This experimental programme aims to validate criticality calculation codes for structural materials.


The PASSAM project launched in January 2013 and completed in late 2016 has investigated the possibilities for enhancing the reduction (referred to as "mitigation") of radioactive waste that may be released into the environment following the meltdown of the core of a nuclear reactor.

The severe accident research program called PHEBUS FP aims at reducing uncertainties concerning the evaluation of radioactive product releases in the event of a pressurised water reactor (PWR) core meltdown, as well as improving IRSN’s expertise and crisis management capacities in this field.


The RAPHAEL project aimed to develop research on generation IV nuclear reactors using gas and high temperatures (VHTR, Very High Temperature Reactors)


SERENA - Steam Explosion REsolution for Nuclear Applications – is an international experimental project coordinated by the OECD to which the IRSN in partnership with the CEA.

The SETH 2 project studied the thermal-hydraulics phenomena for the purposes of accident management.

The aim of the program SOURCE TERM is to reduce uncertainties concerning the assessment of the release of radioactive products into the environment following a core meltdown accident in a water reactor. Other programs included: EPICUR, MOZART, CHIP, BECARRE.

The THAI (thermal, Hydrogen, Aerosols, Iodine) project consisted in removing uncertainties regarding the distribution, combustion and mitigation of hydrogen as well as those concerning the behavior of fission products, including iodine and aerosols.

It aims to study of the effect of wind on accidental contaminating releases from a nuclear power plant. The Tivano program (from the French acronym meaning "Transfers Induced by Wind in Accident and Nominal Operating Conditions) aims particularly at qualifying the CFX calculation codes and the Sylvia software programs to better integrate the effects of wind in the release calculations.



Radiation protection for human health and environment 


The aim of the ALPAHA RISK program was to improve quantification of the risk of cancer and non-cancer diseases related to chronic external or internal exposure.

BioQuaRT (Biologically weighted quantities in radiotherapy) aimed to gain additional knowledge regarding the dosimetry of ionizing radiation used in the medical field in order to potentially reconsider the concept of absorbed dose.


The CAROL program consisted in studying stocks and flows of radionuclides in the environment. 


The CURE (Concerted Uranium Research in Europe) project aimed to develop an innovative approach that integrates epidemiology, biology, dosimetry, toxicology and statistics to expand knowledge of the health effects of chronic uranium exposure and produce a protocol for a collaborative European research project on the topic.

The ERICA project consisted in establishing a method for environmental risks for ionising contaminants.

The EXTREME Project, launched in 2005, studies transfers of materials (mainly artificial radioactivity inventory) during sudden and extreme weather and climate events. The EXTREME project draws on the results of two other projects: the CARMA Project (hydro-sedimentary study of the Rhone river region) and the EXTREMA Project (which extends the scope of Extreme to include metal contaminants in the Mediterranean coastal area).

​FORTRESS project (Foliar transfers of radionuclides in agricultural ecosystems), which ran from 2007 to 2011, was designed to quantify, under realistic conditions of full-field crop cultivation, the factors of translocation to the consumable parts of four cultivated crops for three elements sprayed onto the leaves of the plants.


The aim of the Freebird (Fukushima Radiation Exposure and Effects in BIRD populations) project, launched in 2011, is to study the effects of ionising radiation in birds in the contaminated zone situated 100 km around Fukushima.


The FUTURAE project aimed to make a review of radioecology in Europe and a feasibility study into the establishment of a new network of excellence of radioecology.


The GNR TRASSE program studied the phenomena and mechanisms of radionuclide transfer in soils, sub-soils and to ecosystems.


The IDEAS project aimed to draw the general guidelines for the estimation of commited effective dose from incorporation monitoring data.

MULTIBIODOSE (Multi-disciplinary biodosimetric tools to manage high scale radiological casualties) aimed to improve and develop the operational capacities of different biodosimetric tools for large-scale accidental irradiation situations.

The consequences for a population and environment exposed to industrial pollution, especially if that pollution is radioactive, depend not only on the scale and type of the pollution, but also on the characteristics of the environment in which it occurs. This statement forms the basis of the Sensib radiological sensitivity project launched in 2004 by the IRSN Laboratory of Continental and Marine Radioecological Studies (Laboratoire d'Etudes Radioécologiques en Milieux Continental et Marin - LERCM). See also PRIME Project description, part of the SENSIB Project.


The project goal was to qantify the lung cancer risk after low radon exposure and low exposure rate and to make a synthesis from epidemiological and experimental data. 

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Research networks

IRSN also plays an active role in several research networks, such as:





Current programs

Safety in nuclear facilities













Radiation protection for human health and environment















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