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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


A Global Partner

International contracts

Every year, IRSN responds to many requests from foreign nuclear safety authorities around the world for support activities for safety assessments, site surveys, experts training or tutoring… Services in 2014 included assessments for Riskaudit in Ukraine, Armenia, Mexico, Vietnam and Belarus. Assistance was also provided for authorities and licensees in China and the United Kingdom, and for Frenc companies to support their export business. 

Safety assessments

In 2007, IRSN provided technical support for South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) to examine a change to the pressurized safety valves that the Koeberg NPP operator planned to implement.

In 2008 and 2009, IRSN, its German partner GRS, and their joint affiliate Riskaudit supported the Bulgarian safety authority BNRA in the preliminary safety analysis for the new VVER-1000 reactor to be built at the Belene site in Bulgaria. Assessment work included a complete analysis of the PSAR, a verification to ensure compliance with safety rules (mainly IAEA rules), and in-depth studies on certain safety-related issues.

In June 2011, IRSN’s experts presented the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) with the findings of their safety analysis reviews and their assessment of safety improvements to Ukrainian VVER reactors currently in operation in Ukraine. Begun in 2007 and funded by the European Commission as part of its support programs, this work was carried out in collaboration with GRS experts from the Riskaudit EEIG.

In 2011, IRSN lent its technical expertise to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation by proposing a list of safety requirements for the research reactor that the Dutch operator NRG is planning to build in Petten (north of Amsterdam) and which will have a thermal output of several dozen megawatts. The Institute based this list on the requirements of competent international organizations (such as IAEA) and design choices adopted for the latest research reactors that have been built or are still under construction around the world. This work will feed the public debate on the construction of the new research reactor.

In 2011, IRSN began assessing the characteristics of Braka, the site on which the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates will be built. Working with GRS as part of a consortium led by the Riskaudit EEIG, the Institute was selected by FANR - the UAE’s safety authority - to review a portion of the safety analysis report to be filed with the plant construction license application. More specifically, IRSN was responsible for reviewing all assumptions on extreme weather conditions, from seismic hazards to the availability of coolant and the geotechnical conditions on which the design of future reactors is based.     

And in 2012, IRSN participated via Riskaudit in defining the type of laboratory equipment required to monitor radioactive effluents generated by the four reactors scheduled to be placed in operation at the country’s Braka nuclear power plant from 2017 to 2020 and to ensure radiological surveillance of the environment.

In 2011, the Department Of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States contacted IRSN to review their recent work on updating the reference source term. By assessing the amount of radioactive substances that could be released into the environment during an accident, it is possible to estimate the impact of this release on human health and the environment. IRSN assessed the NRC’s work to update the reference source term for light water reactors (LWR) and evaluate, within the scope of the State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) project, the consequences of reactor meltdown accidents. In the case of the DOE, IRSN assessed the main phenomena likely to occur during accidental releases from sodium-cooled fast reactors.

In 2011, IRSN signed a contract with the engineering firm Bertin Technologies on behalf of China Nuclear Power Engineering (CNPE). With the approval of the Chinese safety authority (NNSA) and its technical arm NSC, IRSN will study the design and qualification of the filtration system for the safety systems of the CPR-1000 reactors commissioned by CNPE.

 

Site survey services

In 2010, several countries wishing to acquire nuclear power capability have initiated a site selection and validation processes and have called on IRSN for its expertise to characterize the sites under consideration. IRSN is supporting the United Arab Emirates nuclear safety authority (FANR) by providing a technical assessment of the preliminary safety analysis report chapter devoted to the characterization of the selected site.

In Tunisia, IRSN is helping STEG, the Tunisian gas and electric utility, to assess certain natural hazards as part of an agreement with AFNI, the French nuclear international agency.

The Institute also performed a study in associate with AFNI for the Kuwait nuclear safety authority (KNNEC), as part of a preliminary siting process for a nuclear power plant. 

It is also working in Jordan and Egypt for EC-funded projects on behalf of the local safety authorities. Here too, its experts are helping the authorities to acquire the methods and set up requirements that any nuclear facilities built in these countries will have to meet.

In 2008, IRSN participated in field investigations and a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment as part of the project to build a second train at the Krško nuclear power plant site in Slovenia. Consultancy services were provided to the GEN-Energija electricity generating group, in partnership with BRGM and Slovenian geological and civil engineering institutes. The first phase consisted of identifying any faults that could lead to a surface rupture in the event of an earthquake. IRSN participated in a geological survey on a gash and helped interpret new geophysical data that could reveal the location of any such faults. 

In 2009, IRSN conducted a study on sandstorms and dust storms, and their effects on nuclear power plant safety, at the request of the United Arab Emirates. Sandstorms and dust storms can present hazards for industrial facilities located on the edges of deserts. They could have a lasting, sometimes serious, effect on nuclear power plant operation: clogging pipes and vents, blocking emergency exits, and interfering with the operation of electric generators and electrical and electronic equipment. They must therefore be taken into account during design studies and safety analyses.

 

Training

In 2010, IRSN was involved in two European Commission contracts: SERAMA, which covers security of radioactive sources and STAR, which addresses management of a nuclear emergency caused by a serious malicious attack.

Following the signing, in spring 2010, of a contract with the Moroccan association for welding and pressure equipment (AMS-AP) for CAMARI certificate testing in Morocco, IRSN organized the first sessions in Rabat in mid-December 2010, assisted by CNESTEN, the Moroccan institute for research and training in nuclear applications.

In 2011, Novarka - the organization set up by Vinci and Bouygues Construction to build the new reactor containment for Chernobyl unit 4 destroyed in the 1986 accident - asked IRSN to provide radiation protection training specifically designed for construction personnel.
The purpose of the training offered by IRSN was to provide Novarka engineers and technicians specialized in civil engineering with basic radiation protection data pertaining to workers at the Chernobyl site, who will be exposed to the risk of internal and external exposure in that work environment, and which take into account French and Ukrainian regulations. Novarka selected IRSN for its ability to design operational radiation protection training specific to its requirements.

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