IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



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 current research programs are detailed in the page below.

Safety in nuclear facilities


The aim of the ARCHER European project- Advanced High-Temperature Reactors for Cogeneration of Heat and Electricity R&D – is to get further knowledge relative to the technology of very high temperature reactors  (V-HTR) and, in particular, to demonstrate the safety of the concept. 


​The international BSAF project (Benchmark Study of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station) primarily consists of carrying out and analyzing numerical simulations of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant accident in Japan.


The actors of the international CABRI study the reactivity incidents to ensure the extraction of a maximum of energy from the fuel by extending the residence time in reactors.


CESAM s a project that aims to consolidate ASTEC, for the study of severe accidents, and in particular their management, in all types of Generation II and III reactors.


Launched by the IRSN in December 2015 for a duration of three-years, the COSEA project should enable points for discussion to be proposed on the risks associated with joint activity and the tools that could be implemented to prevent them.


The DENOPI project aims to acquire experimental data on the physical phenomena associated with a spent fuel pool loss-of-cooling and loss-of-coolant accidents.


The corium-water interaction (ICE) project mains to improve knowledge of phenomena that may occur during a corium flow in water during a core melt accident in a nuclear reactor.


JASMIN (Joint Advanced Severe accidents Modelling and Integration for Na-cooled fast neutron reactors) is which seeks to extend to sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors (SFR) the use of ASTEC.


The MIRE (Mitigation of Releases to the Environment in the event of a nuclear accident) project aims to study and improve filtration of radioactive releases during a reactor meltdown accident (referred to as a severe accident).


The MITHYGENE project aims to improve knowledge of hydrogen risk and how to manage it during a severe accident.


The PROGRES program (ex-PEARL), aims to better understand the behavior of steam and water flow in a porous medium composed of solid particles at very high temperature under conditions representative of a core melt accident (or severe accident).


The PERFROI experimental research project, launched in January 2014 for a six years long period, aims to better understand the cooling behavior of a nuclear reactor core in case  of a loss of coolant accident (LOCA).


The PRISME program (Spread of a Fire for Multi room elementary Scenarios) is an international research program which experimentally studies the propagation of smoke and heat released by a fire located in a nuclear installation.


SHINRAI ("Trust" in Japanese) is a Franco-Japanese research project, launched in 2014 and coordinated by the IRSN, that aims to investigate the social and political consequences of the Fukushima accident that occurred in 2011.


The Source Term Evaluation and Mitigation (STEM) project is aimed at learning more about the behaviour of radioactive materials that could be released to the environment in the event of a core melt down accident at a nuclear facility.



Radiation protection for human health and environment

Launched in January 2014, this project aims to improve two types of models, those that forecast the dispersion of radionuclides in the environment and those that assess the impact of radionuclides on two compartments of the biosphere and their interfaces, i.e. the marine environment and land ecosystems and associated surface water.


The ANTHOS project aims to improve the effectiveness of MSC-based cell therapy in treating the severe side effects that may be induced by pelvic radiation therapy.


    Extending from 2008 to 2012, the main objective of the DISVER program (vertical dispersion) is to validate, by means of sea campaigns, MARS model computations. Jointly developed by Ifremer and IRSN, this three-dimensional hydrodynamic model simulates the dispersion of pollutants soluble in sea water.


    The study of external dosimetry in the Fukushima region (EDOFU) is a current research study (2014-2016) by IRSN aiming at better quantifying the evolution (in space and time) of ambient dose rates in the Fukushima region following the nuclear accident in 2011. 


    Launched in 2001, ENVIRHOM is aimed at bringing together human health and environmental specialists to observe the effects of very low-level chronic exposure to radionuclides. The program studies radionuclide bioaccumulation phenomena in ecosystems and humans.


    Launched in 2005, the EPICE (evaluation of diseases induced by caesium 137 contamination) research program aims to study non-cancerous effects that may result from exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. The program aims to assess whether chronic caesium contamination may induce cardiac arrhythmias and lens opacities (early stages of cataract development).


    EPI-CT (Epidemiological study to quantify risks for pediatric computerized tomography and to optimize doses) is an international epidemiological study that seeks to assess the risk of long-term effects for children and adolescents exposed to ionizing radiation during CT scans.


    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).


    INWORKS is an international epidemiological study on workers in the nuclear sector. It seeks to gain greater knowledge relating to the risks of cancer and non-cancerous diseases linked to chronic exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation at low dose rates.


    The PRIODAC (repeated stable iodine prophylaxis in accidental situations) project, launched in March 2014, aims to identify procedures for administering stable iodine to people exposed to repeated or prolonged accidental radioactive releases, such as those observed at Fukushima.

    The RENEB project (Realizing European Network in Biodosimetry), which began in January 2012 and will end in late 2015, consists of the formation and implementation of the European biological dosimetry network.

    Launched by IRSN in July 2009, the ROSIRIS program aims to better understand the mechanisms giving rise to secondary effects in radiotherapy.


    The new cell therapy in experimental radiopathology program, launched in 2009 for a five-year duration, is continuing the research conducted in this field by the IRSN for several years. The aim of this new period is to define the optimum conditions of clinical use of adult stem cells in the context of the treatment of severe tissue lesions following radiotherapy or accidental exposure to ionizing radiation.


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    Scientific collaborations

    IRSN also plays an active role in several Franch and global scientific collaborations.

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    Ended programs


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