Research, expertise and knowledge transfer
Every year the Scientific and Technical Report provides the opportunity to present a selection of IRSN research and analysis results. For the Scientific Division, it also provides a chance to assess our achievements and to keep our partners up to date on the vitality of IRSN research.
Radioactivity and the environment
IRSN pursues continuous improvement of its expertise in assessing the impact of radioactive substances in the environment. This year's report covers topics that are central to this quest: developing capabilities to analyze radioactivity in the environment; studying radionuclide transfer to various media, such as subsoil and the marine environment; assessing the impact of radioactive contamination on the environment and determining appropriate management strategies.
Accidents in nuclear facilities
An important aspect of the Institute's mission consists of preventing nuclear facility accidents and assessing measures to limit the potential consequences to human health and the environment. These objectives are achieved through missionoriented research programs to improve knowledge of accident phenomena, and through the development of computer codes and assessment methods. Once validated, these tools are used to assess accident risks and analyze the measures taken by operators to manage these risks. IRSN has focused considerable efforts on research in these areas, presented in detail in the following articles.
People and ionizing radiation
Assessing the health risks associated with the use of ionizing radiation in the industrial, research and medical sectors is an ongoing scientific and technical challenge. Despite the existence of an extensive body of knowledge and an international system with a broad consensus among international commissions in the field, maintaining expertise in human radiation protection requires constant technical renewal and the continuation of dedicated research programs. Unlike other international structures concerned with human radiation protection, IRSN has opted to maintain the highest possible technical standards at its reference metrology laboratories and to enhance its academic expertise by developing specific experimental research activities within its laboratories.
Simulation, computer tools, and metrology
Designing nuclear reactors and fuel cycle facilities covers two broad aspects: designing structures and equipment to ensure operability in various internal and external situations, and conducting studies to verify the behavior of the designed facilities in order to assess the impact on both workers and the public. These studies may lead to taking additional design or operating measures to reduce the consequences of any significant malfunctions to an acceptable level. Computational codes and/or chains used for design purposes must be qualified by a complex process that generally involves three steps: verification using analytical tools, validation by comparison with similar codes (these two steps may be combined), and qualification using experimental databases.
Facility safety and security analyses
This last chapter of the Scientific and Technical Report shows that the quality of IRSN appraisal services is based on the Institute's research work. It also shows that the knowledge deficit identified in the course of the appraisal process fuels its research programs. Looking at a few particularly relevant examples, it also sets out to demonstrate that IRSN's research activities really do help to perfect nuclear risk management, whatever the causes of the risks considered.