Criticality accident studies and research performed in the Valduc Criticality Laboratory, France.
F. Barbry, P. Fouillaud, IAEA-CN-82 International Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Safety, 03-06/09/2001, Vienne (Autriche).
In 1967, the irsn (Institut de Protection et de Sûreté Nucléaire – Nuclear Protection and Safety Institute) started studies and research in France on criticality accidents, with the objective of improving knowledge and modeling of accidents in order to limit consequences on the public, the environment and installations.
The criticality accident is accompanied by an intense emission of neutronic and gamma radiation and releases of radioactive products in the form of gas and aerosols, generating irradiation and contamination risks. The main objectives of the studies carried out, particularly using the CRAC installation and the SILENE reactor at Valduc (France) were to model the physics of criticality accidents, to estimate the risks of irradiation and radioactive releases, to elaborate an
accident detection system and to provide information for intervention plans.
This document summarizes the state of knowledge in the various fields mentioned above.
The results of experiments carried out in the Valduc criticality laboratory are used internationally as reference data for the qualification of calculation codes and the assessment of the consequences of a criticality accident. The SILENE installation, that reproduces the various conditions encountered during a criticality accident, is also a unique international research tool for studies and training on