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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


Publications

Publications and reports : Nuclear safety

 

Addressing Cultural Aspects of Organisations in High Risk Industries

Publication date : 22/06/2017

IRSN presents the results of a study carried out by its research laboratory in human and social sciences aimed at defining guidelines for the use of the "culture" and "safety culture" dimensions in safety assessments of nuclear facilities. The different contributions and limitations of the safety culture concept are discussed, and an analysis grid of cultural aspects of risk organisations is provided.

The concept of Safety Culture is a key element of many initiatives aimed at improving the safety of nuclear facilities. In particular, the IAEA has focused its development strategy on taking into account human and organisational factors. In this context, the IRSN has mainly devoted its evaluations and research to theoretical lines arising from ergonomics and the sociology of organisations. Although this orientation has helped to formulate documented assessments, it is necessary to better take into account cultural aspects, because some of these contribute to risk management. They can, for example, be an important part of provisions to promote cooperation between different professions (maintenance and operation, operation and decommissioning, operation and research, etc.), between project organisation and daily organisation (outage management, change implementation, dismantling worksites, etc.), between companies (relations between customers and service providers).

IRSN thus conducted a study aimed at defining guidelines for the use of the "culture" and "safety culture" concepts in safety assessments of nuclear facilities. First, the contributions and limitations of the safety culture concept are identified, leading as a second stage to a review of the main works on culture that have been conducted in anthropology, sociology, management science and ergonomics. These studies show that taking into account cultural aspects can give access to phenomena that are difficult to deal with using other organisation analytical frameworks. On this basis, four analysis plans were defined, which provide a breakdown of the overall "culture" topic: organisational cultures, professional cultures, social cultures and relations, and national cultures. In the fourth part of the document, these analysis plans are used to revisit safety assessments performed in the past. In doing so, the relationship between cultural aspects and safety are specified and the interest in taking them into account is confirmed.

Download the report IRSN/PSN/SRDS/SFOHREX n°2017-005 "Addressing Cultural Aspects of Organisations in High Risk Industries” (PDF)

 

Transport of radioactive materials: Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2014 and 2015

Publication date: 09/03/2017

Infographic: Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France in 2014 and 2015 IRSN publishes its report on the safety of transport of radioactive materials for civilian use in France for the years 2014 and 2015. It is based on an overall review of the significant events that occurred during this period during transport operations in France by road, railway, inland waterway, sea and air of 980 000 parcels loaded with radioactive substances.

In 2014 and 2015, respectively 139 and 122 events were reported, which is about one event reported for 7,500 packages carried.

While these figures are up significantly compared to 2013 (93 reported events, or 1 in 10,000 packages carried), IRSN believes that this trend should not however be interpreted as a deterioration of the safety level of the transport of radioactive materials. Indeed, it is largely explained by better detection of events relevant to safety by the actors concerned and therefore their declaration to the authorities.

None of these events had significant radiological consequences for the workers, the population or the environment.

As part of progress made, IRSN notes a sharp decrease, in 2015, in the number of damage of packages intended for medical activities during their handling in airport areas. This decrease is linked to awareness actions conducted for airlines companies and staff involved in the handling of packages.

Finally, three themes must be the subject of particular vigilance of the actors concerned and of corrective actions:

  • Compliance with the requirements for the transport of gamma radiography devices, in particular those associated with the locking of the source; events related to the transport of gamma radiography devices appeared as remarkable events over the period (3 level 1 events and 1 level 2 events);
  • The tie-down of packages on their means of transport, given the risks of fall of the package during transport, as well as tie-down of the objects in their transport container;
  • The operations of filling and closing of drums containing uranium ore in order to avoid contamination of the outer surface of these drums and of their means of transport.

Download the report “Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France. Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2014 and 2015" (PDF, 3,3 Mo)

Read the flipbook version of the report

Download the infographic

 

Overall assessment of safety and radiation protection of the French nuclear power plant fleet in 2015

Publication date: 09/03/2017

IRSN publishes its report on the operation, in 2015, of the 58 nuclear reactors of EDF in France. It is based on an overall review of significant events, which brings out global lessons as well as trends in evolution and identifies topics requiring special attention.

Infographics : Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2013In its report, the Institute presents the overall assessment of the significant events reported by EDF to the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and highlights the most noteworthy events of the year.

Safety: a decrease in the number of events but still a significant number of non-compliance with the technical operating specifications

604 significant safety-related events in 2015: the decline observed since 2013 in the number of events continued. This decrease is 7% compared to 2014 and 18% compared to 2012. Also, for the third consecutive year, no event was rated at or above 2.

In 2015, half of the safety-related events originated from non-compliance with technical specifications. In addition, the quality of maintenance activities was not at the expected level, due in particular to a risk analysis that was often incomplete. Improving the control of these activities remains an important objective for EDF.

Finally, the inspections carried out in 2015 showed a habituation to deviation which requires a rigorous response from EDF to keep the plants in compliance.

Radiation protection: a decrease in the number of events but three events of workers’ skin contamination

After a first decline of 8% in 2014, the number of significant events concerning radiation protection of workers decreased by 5% in 2015.

However, in 2015, three cases of skin contamination of plant workers led to exceedances of the regulatory limits for skin-equivalent dose. They were responsible for the three events described as incidents on the INES scale: an event classified at level 2 and two events classified at level 1. The setting up by EDF of organizational measures, particularly during the phases of undressing, could reduce the risk of skin contamination.

Moreover, the number of events linked to failures in the application of basic rules of radiation protection has increased strongly over the last two years. This is particularly the case for forgetting to wear a dosimeter with 22 events in 2015, as opposed to 17 events in 2014 and 11 events in 2013. Finally, as in 2014, deviations associated with access and stay in controlled area decreased significantly, although they still represent the largest number of events. The implementation by EDF of operational action plans seems to have a positive effect.

Expertise on specific issues in 2015

In its report, IRSN also presents its main conclusions on specific issues that were the subject of an assessment in 2015:Guidelines of the periodic review associated with the fourth ten-yearly reactor safety reviews for the 900 MWe reactors;

  • The optimization of the radiation protection of workers in EDF plants, and particularly the adequacy and sufficiency of organizational arrangements;
  • The control by EDF of the risks associated with the subcontracted maintenance activities.

 

Download the report “IRSN's Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2015” (PDF, 4 Mo)

Read the fliplbook version of the report

Download the infographic

 

Overall assessment of safety and radiation protection of the French nuclear power plant fleet in 2014

Publication date: 23/03/2016

In 2014, none of the significant events reported affected reactor safety. The number of significant radiation protection events fell by 8% compared to 2013 and few of them had any impact on the plants' workers’ health, the public’s health or the environment.

Infographics : Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2013

IRSN’s point on view on safety and radiation protection of the 58 French  nuclear power reactors currently operated by electric utility company EDF. This report is based on the Institute’s scientific and technical expertise of significant events, and its analysis of several events that it found to be the most noteworthy for the year.

In 2014, the number of significant safety events reported by EDF dropped by 8% compared with 2013, confirming the decrease already observed in 2013 compared with 2012.

Early detection by EDF teams of anomalies may have contributed to the fact that none of the events reported in 2014 had a very significant impact on safety. In 2014, ASN did not class any of the events reported on Level 2 on the INES Scale. 

IRSN points out organisational improvements made by EDF regarding maintenance activities and equipment changes. Nevertheless, half the significant safety events reported by EDF were caused by maintenance errors. Noteworthy, the number of anomalies affecting safety-related equipment in reactors was generally lower in 2014 than in 2013.

In 2014, the number of significant radiation protection events fell by 8% compared to 2013, and was just below the number of similar events reported in 2012. Among the factors contributing to this decrease:

the number of events related to gamma radiography inspections for checking welds was halved, despite a nearly identical number of interventions;
 the number of non-compliances related to the access to or time spent in radiologically controlled areas is falling, although these non-compliances  still represent the largest number of reported events.

The most notable trend compared to previous years concern worker dosimetry, with 18 events reported in 2014 (against 11 events in 2013), including 17 events due to failure to wear a dosimeter. However, these figures should be compared to the important number of entries in radiologically controlled areas.

In 2014, the vast majority of events have not resulted in any significant consequences for the plant workers and the environment. No event was classified as Level 2 or higher on the INES scale (one Level 2 event in 2013) and three events were classified at Level 1 (two events in 2013).

Read the flipbook version of the report “IRSN's Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2014

Download “IRSN's Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2014” (PDF, 5,6 Mo)

Download infographics

 

Overall assessment of safety at basic nuclear installations other than nuclear power plants in France in 2013-2014

Publication date: 23/03/2016

Produced every two year since 2009, this report concerns 73 facilities such as plants, laboratories, facilities for the treatment, disposal and storage of waste, and facilities which have been decommissioned, and 9 research reactors, operated by around twenty different licensees in France.

Infographics : Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2013

IRSN publishes the lessons learned from its analysis of significant events which have occurred in 2013 and 2014 at 82 civil basic nuclear installations (INBs) other than nuclear power plants (NPPs)

Produced every two year since 2009, this report concerns 73 facilities such as plants, laboratories, facilities for the treatment, disposal and storage of waste, and facilities which have been decommissioned, and 9 research reactors, operated by around twenty different licensees in France.

210 and 227 significant events were respectively reported in 2013 and 2014 to the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).  This number remains similar to previous years and tends to "stabilize" at around 200 to 220.

On the one hand, among the improvements observed in 2013 and 2014, IRSN found two subjects of particular interest:

Efforts made by the licensees to increase reliability of organisational and human measures related to handling operations, in particular at the spent fuel reprocessing plant of AREVA NC La Hague and in the radioactive waste storage facilities operated by the CEA.

Important improvement program deployed by the licensee of the FBFC plant in Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme) to enhance operating practices, particularly regarding management of criticality risks (prevention of uncontrolled chain reactions).

On the other hand, three subjects still require special vigilance by licensees:

Ensuring full control over the safety documentation of facilities. IRSN’s cross-cutting analysis of events reveal a large number of cases for which parts of the safety documentation are not fully understood at the facilities, are not applied, are inaccurate or not applicable to the situation.
Ensuring in-depth and comprehensive planning of installation clean-up and dismantling operations. Risks of worker exposure to ionising radiation are higher during these operations which may require personnel to work in close proximity to radioactive materials.
Ensuring more rigorously that personnel observe access conditions to controlled areas and comply with the radiological zoning implemented.

Periodic safety review: taking into account the specific nature of each installation

In this report, IRSN presents a summary and the key lessons learned from its assessment, in 2013 and 2014, of the first periodic safety review for 4 INBs. One of the lessons learned is related to the importance of the approach and methods implemented, by the licensees:

to review compliance (stage of the safety reassessment that involves comparing the actual state of the installation to the safety requirements and applicable regulations) and,
to check on the management of ageing phenomena, particularly with a view to taking into account "as closely as possible" the specific nature of the installation in question and its expected operating outlook until the next periodic safety review.

Read the flipbook version of the report “Safety at civil basic nuclear installations other than nuclear power plants in France - Lessons learned by IRSN from significant events reported in 2013 and 2014”

Download the PDF of the report “Safety at civil basic nuclear installations other than nuclear power plants in France - Lessons learned by IRSN from significant events reported in 2013 and 2014” (PDF, 11,4 Mo)

Download infographics

  

Methodology used in IRSN nuclear accident cost estimates in France

Publication date: 16/11/2015

This report - produced in 2013 in its French version and 2014 in its English version - describes the methodology used by IRSN to estimate the cost of potential nuclear accidents in France.

It concerns possible accidents involving pressurized water reactors leading to radioactive releases in the environment. These accidents have been grouped in two accident families called: severe accidents and major accidents. Two model scenarios have been selected to represent each of these families.

The report discusses the general methodology of nuclear accident cost estimation. The crucial point is that all cost should be considered: if not, the cost is underestimated which can lead to negative consequences for the value attributed to safety and for crisis preparation. As a result, the overall cost comprises many components: the most well-known is offsite radiological costs, but there are many others. The proposed estimates have thus required using a diversity of methods which are described in this report.

Download the report IRSN/PRP-CRI/SESUC/2014-00132 "Methodology used in IRSN nuclear accident cost estimates in France" (pdf)

Considerations concerning the strategy of corium retention in the reactor vessel

Publication date: 10/07/2015

Third-generation nuclear reactors are characterised by consideration during design of core meltdown accidents. More specifically, dedicated measures or devices must be implemented to avoid basemat melt-through in the reactor building. These devices must have a high level of confidence. The strategy of corium retention in the reactor vessel, if supported by appropriate research and development, makes it possible to achieve this objective.

IRSN works alone or in partnerships to address all the issues associated with in-vessel corium retention. This document describes the in-vessel corium retention strategy and its limitations, along with the research programmes conducted by IRSN in this area.

Download the document “Considerations concerning the strategy of corium retention in the reactor vessel"

Transport of radioactive materials: Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2012 and 2013

Publication date: 13/05/2015

Download the infographicEvery two years since 2008, IRSN has published in a report the lessons learnt from its analysis of significant events involving the transport of radioactive materials for civilian purposes in France. Each year in France, some 770,000 shipments of radioactive materials for civilian use are done by road, railway, inland waterway, sea and air.

For 2012 and 2013, the report did not find evidence of degradation compared with previous years, particularly for industrial activities in the nuclear power industry, which raise the most significant safety issues. Since 1999, approximately a hundred events are reported each year, which represents, on average, one event per 10,000 packages transported. IRSN notes that none of the events that occurred over the two years had an impact on public health or environmental protection.

Events involving a defect in the closure of spent fuel shipping packages and deviations concerning the content of the packages, which had increased in 2010 and 2011, are now down. It would seem to confirm that the organizational measures implemented by those sending the packages have had a positive impact.

Previous trends which brought to light failures in the preparation of packages and their handling, in particular in the medical sector, have been confirmed. Even if most of the packages concerned contain low levels of radioactivity, recurrence of these events confirms the value of implementing appropriate preventive actions on the part of the companies involved. Lastly, descriptions of several typical events that occurred in 2012 and 2013 provide illustrations of the analyses that were performed on actual cases.

Download the report “Safety of the Transport of Radioactive Materials for Civilian Use in France. Lessons learned by IRSN from analysis of significant events reported in 2012 and 2013" (PDF, 4,67 Mo)
Download the infographic with key figures and analysis (PDF)

IRSN’s Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2013

Publication date: 23/05/2015

Download the infographicThis report does not find any notable change in significant safety-related events from the previous report in 2012. Nevertheless, it confirms the increase in the number of significant radiation protection-related events observed since 2010. IRSN notes that the overwhelming majority of events that occurred in 2013 had no significant impact on plant safety and no consequences for the health of workers and the public.

The analysis confirms that EDF's efforts appear to be successful in handling the main causes of certain types of events such as periodic tests that had been increasing in recent years. Nevertheless, vigilance over organizational and human aspects is still necessary during a period of significant staff turnover.

IRSN has highlighted the considerable progress protecting nuclear plants from internal and external hazards that led or will lead EDF to implement modifications to its reactors. Finally, IRSN continues to pay particular attention to EDF's efforts to improve reactor safety as a result of stress tests performed after the disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on 11 March 2011.

In the report, IRSN also provides its analysis of several events and anomalies that it considered the most significant in 2013.

Download IRSN report « IRSN's Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2013 » (pdf)
Download the infographic with key figures and analysis (PDF)

IRSN’s Position on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2012

Publication date: 16/06/2014

After working a year to consolidate the data, the annual report on the radiation protection and safety of nuclear power plants in France gives the IRSN's independent point of view on all progress and problems concerning safety and radiation protection encountered in the French nuclear power plant fleet in 2012. 

The first part of the report presents the main trends that emerge from IRSN's overall assessment of the radiation protection and safety performance of currently operating nuclear power plants for the year 2012. The year 2012 has witnessed an increase in the total number of significant events. However, IRSN notes the absence in 2012 of incidents with a potentially significant impact on nuclear power plant safety, the surrounding environment or nearby communities in a context of large-scale personnel renewal.

This increase can mainly be explained by EDF's implementation of an improved nonconformance detection and handling procedure which led to the identification, in 2012, of various nonconformances presumably present for several years but previously undetected.

With regard to radiation protection, IRSN notes that the effective dose received by the majority of exposed workers over a period of 12 consecutive months is below the annual public radiation dose limit. 

​Faults may occur with nuclear power plant equipment or reactor monitoring systems. Given the standardisation of EDF nuclear power plant reactors, such faults may affect an entire reactor series or even the entire reactor fleet. A few examples deemed particularly significant by IRSN are presented in the second part of this report.

French nuclear reactors are subject to modifications throughout their operating lives, particularly with a view to ensuring continuous safety improvement, this is the subject of the third part of the report. Most of these modifications are the result of studies conducted within the framework of ten-yearly safety reviews, leading to the definition and implementation of new safety requirements and associated changes. Certain issues analysed in parallel with said safety reviews may also lead to changes. This is the case, for example, with the new guidelines document for the protection of basic nuclear installations against external flooding (prepared as part of the response to a nationwide storm that caused partial flooding of the Blayais site in late 1999) or the intense heatwave baseline requirements document (based on lessons learned from the drought period of 2003). The relevance of such an approach has been clearly demonstrated during the definition of NPP protection measures against natural hazards exceeding design-basis levels ('hardened safety core'), as part of the post-FUKUSHIMA review process.​

Download IRSN report DG/2013-00005-EN « IRSN's Pos​ition on Safety and Radiation Protection at Nuclear Power Plants in France in 2012 » (pdf)

Safety at basic nuclear installations other than nuclear power plants: Lessons learned from significant events reported in 2011 and 2012

Publication date: 16/06/2014

The third report on the safety of basic nuclear installations in France other than power reactors presents an IRSN's analysis of significant events reported to the Nuclear Safety Authority in the years 2011 and 2012. It covers plants, laboratories, research reactors and facilities for the treatment, storage or disposal of waste.

This report aims to contribute to a better understanding by stakeholders and more widely by the public of the safety and radiation protection issues associated with the operation of nuclear facilities, the progress made in terms of safety as well as the identified deficiencies.

The main trend shows, once again, the significant role of organizational and human factors in the significant events that occurred in 2011 and 2012, of which the vast majority are without noteworthy consequences. Aging mechanisms are another major cause of equipment failure and require special attention.

The report also provides IRSN's analysis of specific events that are particularly instructive for facility safety and a synthesis of assessments performed by IRSN on topics that are important for safety and radiation protection. IRSN also includes an overview of its analysis of measures proposed by licensees for increasing the safety of their facilities after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which consist of providing a "hardened safety core" to confront extreme situations (earthquake, flooding, etc.) that are unlikely but plausible and can bring about levels of hazards higher than those taken into account in the design of the facilities. 

Download IRSN report DG/2013-00006-EN « Safety at basic nuclear installations other than nuclear power plants. Lessons learned from events reported in 2011 and 2012 » (pdf)

 

Transport of radioactive materials: IRSN draws lessons from events reported between 1999 and 2011

Publication date: 22/03/2013

In its role of technical support of the authorities for safety and protection against radiations, IRSN has a mission of assessment that covers the design, the manufacturing, the testing and the use of packaging and transport system. It also takes part in the emergency response in the event of anomalies, incidents or accidents (known in a generic way as “events”). To assist with this work, IRSN manages a database that lists all events reported for transport.

IRSN publishes a new report about transport events involving radioactive materials that occurred in France from 1999 to 2011. For each of the 1 304 events recorded, many parameters have been collected and analysed from information listed in the declarations and reports of events sent by users (type of event, purpose, package design, INES level, etc.).

The number of events declared in 2010 and 2011 is slightly higher than the average of 100 events per year. The two main reasons for declaration concern errors in transport documentation or labelling and handling mishaps. The new data confirm the downward trend in frequency of package and vehicle contaminations. A short description of outstanding events in 2010 and 2011 is included. This assessment also gives an outline of the actions recommended by IRSN to avoid recurrence of declared events and improve the safety of radioactive material transport.. 

Download IRSN report 2013-003E « Assessment of events involving transport of radioactive materials in France, 1999-2011 » (pdf)

Report: Fukushima, one year later - Initial analyses of the accident and its consequences 

Published in March 2012, IRSN’s report "Fukushima, one year later" illustrates both the vast amount of data that are now available on the accident’s sequences, and the limited understanding achieved so far of a particularly complex accident, beyond its obvious initiating events.

Detailed understanding of how nuclear accidents unfold, of their consequences of all kinds, and of the related decision-making and response processes is a major source of short- and long-term progress in nuclear safety, radiation protection and emergency response management.

Download the report: Fukushima, one year later - Initial analyses of the accident and its consequences (pdf file) 


Safety of laboratories, plants, facilities being dismantled, waste
processing, interim storage and disposal facilities: Lessons learned from events reported in 2009 and 2010

Publication date: 10/04/2012

France has 72 civil basic nuclear installations (BNI) falling under the category "Laboratories, plants, facilities being dismantled, waste processing or interim storage facilities or disposal facilities" (LUDD).

To promote the dissemination of lessons learned from these very different kinds of facilities, IRSN has carried out a transversal analysis of the events occurred in 2009 and 2010. This analysis is a continuation of the one conducted in 2009, which covered the period from the years 2005 to 2008. It presents the general lessons learned and especially the main developments over the past two years, whatever it is: improvements, areas for improvement and points to watch.

The analysis showed improvements on some issues important to safety although the efficiency in time has to be checked. Points of care were identified regarding particular risks such as internal contamination of workers by injury, especially during cleanup or decommissioning operations. Finally, with regard to organizational and human aspects that remain prominent in the events reported to the ASN, efforts by the operators need to be continued. 

Download the report "Safety of laboratories, plants, facilities being dismantled, waste processing, interim storage and disposal facilities: Lessons learned from events reported in 2009 and 2010" (PDF File)


Analyses guide : Nuclear criticality risks and their prevention in plants and laboratories

Publication date: 16/09/2011

This report is intended to provide support for the implementation or assessment of a criticality risks analysis. After a brief description of these risks and the principles of prevention in plants and laboratories, and a reminder of the French Basic Safety Rule (BSR) No. I.3.c, it presents in diagrammatic form (i) the methodology recommended by this BSR, and (ii), for the reference fissile medium and for each criticality control mode, the parameters to be considered in the analysis, the failures to be investigated, and the typical scenarios associated with these failures without claiming to be exhaustive. 

Download the report "Analyses guide : Nuclear criticality risks and their prevention in plants and laboratories" (PDF File)

Research and development with regard to severe accidents in pressurised water reactors : Summary and outlook

Publication date: 22/03/2011

This report was produced conjointly by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). The French electric utility EDF also contributed to Section 8.2.

Download the report "Research and development with regard to severe accidents in pressurised water reactors : Summary and outlook" (PDF File)


Nuclear fuel cycle facilities, laboratories, irradiators, particle accelerators, under-decommissioning reactors and radioactive waste management facilities safety. Lessons learned from events notified between 2005 and 2008

Publication date : 12/05/2010

France has more than 70 civil basic nuclear installations (BNI) falling under the category "Laboratories, plants, facilities being dismantled, waste processing or interim storage facilities or disposal facilities" (LUDD). To encourage the diffusion of operating feedback, IRSN has produced a report concerning events notified to the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) by operators of LUDD facilities between 2005 and 2008. The main objective is to make general lessons for safety in this type of facility available based on a cross-disciplinary analysis of notified events and noted evolution trends.

Download the information report (PDF File)

IRSN's viewpoint on the safety and radiation protection on French nuclear power plants in 2007

Publication date : 16/03/2009

The regular annual dissemination of information about nuclear reactor safety, outside any context of media coverage associated with current events, can help ensure a better understanding by the stakeholders – and more widely by the public – of the real safety issues associated with the operation of nuclear installations, the progress made in terms of safety as well as the identified deficiencies.

The IRSN safety assessment of the French nuclear power plants is based on data transmitted by operators and its own research. It is organized around the following points: first, an overall examination confirms that no event had serious consequences in the fields of either safety or radioprotection in 2007. This good result must however be tempered by the persistence, or even the increase in unanticipated events and operating difficulties, caused essentially by human factors, organizational aspects and certain shortcomings in terms of operating rigour.

Download the report “IRSN's viewpoint on the safety and radiation protection on French nuclear power plants in 2007" (PDF File)


Incidents in transport of radioactive materials for civil use: Analysis 1999-2007

Publication date : 21/10/2008

In its role of technical support of the authorities for safety and protection against radiations, IRSN has a mission of assessment that covers the design, the manufacturing, the testing and the use of packaging and transport system. It also takes part in the emergency response in the event of anomalies, incidents or accidents (known in a generic way as “events”). To assist with this work, IRSN manages a database that lists all events reported for transport.

With the aim of improving transport safety by having changes made to packaging, practices and regulations, IRSN has carried out a transversal analysis of events in transport of radioactive materials for civil use that occurred in France between 1999 and 2007. This report sets out the types of event, the way they have changed over time and general lessons which might be learned from them.

Download the information report “Incidents in transport of radioactive materials for civil use: IRSN draws lessons from events reported between 1999 and 2007” (PDF file)


 

Risks of explosion associated with "red oils" in reprocessing plants 

Publication date : 10/06/2008

As new countries are considering the development of reprocessing plants, the IRSN publishes a technical note regarding the risks of explosion associated with "red oils".

This note presents the risks of explosion associated with reactions between TBP (tributylphosphate), its degradation products and nitrates derived from nitric acid or associated with heavy metals (uranium and plutonium), leading to the formation of unstable compounds known as "red oils". Feedback from explosions associated with the formation of these compounds, occurring in reprocessing plants around the world, is dealt with concisely. The main measures for controlling these risks implemented in the French plants concerned are also presented.

Download the technical note (PDF file)

Evaluation guide for the radiological impact study of a basic nuclear installation (bni) as a support for the authorization application of releases 

Publication date : Octobre 2002

At the time of a licence application of effluent releases and water pumping of basic nuclear facilities (BNI), the operator of the installation must in particular provide a radiological impact study of the radioactive effluent releases coming from the installation on the environment and on pubic health. By definition, it is about an assessment (in principle called an impact study) corresponding with the future activity of the installation, even if such licence applications relate mostly to existing facilities taking into account the Regulatory requirements.

An impact study of the radioactive releases represents technical and conditional specifications. It was for this reason that the French Safety Authority (ASN then DSIN) and the Directorate-General of Health Services (DGS) requested IRSN (then IPSN), in April 1999, to develop a guide facilitating the review of such a study, as well for the services implied in the examination of the licence applications, as for all the concerned parties in this field.

A first version of this guide was issued (in the form of a project) in August 2001 by the ASN. The present version takes into account all comments collected.

Download the evaluation guide (PDF file)

 

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