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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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27/08/2015

Nuclear criticality accident: IRSN deepens a strategic collaboration with its Japanese partners


IRSN, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and the Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) met in June 2015 to discuss future joint research programs in criticality safety.


IRSN, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and the Japan Nuclear Safety Authority (NRA) met at the Cadarache scientific research centre in June 2015 to discuss future joint research programs in criticality safety. Nuclear criticality is the field that evaluates and prevents the risk of uncontrolled fission chain reactions in nuclear facilities.

JAEA is considering starting, from 2018, a program dedicated to the criticality evaluation of debris beds, part of the roadmap towards the decommissioning of four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

To achieve this program, JAEA must first renovate its existing facility STACY dedicated to criticality test, a project funded by NRA. IRSN already helped JAEA in developing the project by hosting one JAEA expert in 2014-2015.


Broader international project PRINCESS

Collaboration with Japan would give the IRSN the opportunity to pursue the acquisition of criticality experimental data, following the planned closure of the CEA facility at Valduc, in Burgundy. Additional research programs are already planned between IRSN and the US Department of Energy (DOE).

These two collaborations with Japan and the United States are part of the broader international partnership on criticality risk experimentation PRINCESS (PRoject for IRSN Neutron physics and Criticality Experimental data for Supporting Safety). The objective of PRINCESS is to enable IRSN to pursue its research on criticality risks in order to improve computer codes and assess safety analysis reports.

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