IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Scientific news in 2005



Radiation protection and environment
Agreement signed between IRSN ans the University of Chile

On 27 October 2005, IRSN signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Chile on research into seismic risks. Planned to last 5 years, the agreement will cover joint work on modelling strong seismic movements, on wave propagation and site effects, on the vulnerability and behaviour of structures during an earthquake and on geological studies and paleoseismology. Courses and conferences are also planned for the mutual exchange of knowledge on these subjects.

The agreement strengthens the links that the University of Chile has maintained for some time with France in geology and geophysics, particularly with CNRS, IRD and the Institute of Earth Physics (IPG).

Radiation protection and environment
New version of the Astral code
A new version of the Astral computer code entered service on 3 November 2005. This code, developed by IRSN and financed jointly by EDF, is used to quantify transfers of radioactive elements in agricultural and forestry environments in the event of a nuclear accident releasing these elements into the atmosphere. This new version now takes 76 radionuclides into account; it calculates doses received based on a variety of lifestyles and age groups and takes account of the seasons in the diets of game birds and animals; lastly, new display functions make it easier to compare doses received via various exposure pathways.


 see the description of the Astral code

Nuclear safety
Icare-Cathare V2 will soon be operational

Version 2 of the Icare-Cathare code will be operational during the 1st semester 2006. Developed by an IRSN department, this code is used to analyse safety in light water nuclear reactors (PWR, WER and EPR) and the level 2 probabilistic safety studies (EPS-2). The analytical support for the IRSN experimental programmes (PHEBUS, MAESTRO, etc.), it is also a tool for summarising all the phenomenological knowledge on the degradation of a nuclear reactor core.

Version 1.4, which has been in operation since April 2005, is the final stage in the V1 series currently used by IRSN for studies on the problem of breaks induced on the PWR 900 MWe under EPS-2.

Having been tested for over a year, Version 2 will be used to calculate the vessel's three-dimensional thermohydraulics and to process more fully, and in even more mechanistic fashion, the phenomena arising during the core degradation phase up to possible rupture of the vessel.

IRSN will organise a meeting of the club for Icare/Cathare users under this evolving context on the 17th and 18 th of November 2005 to bring together the code development team and its numerous French and international users.

Catalogue of IRSN criticality experiments available on Internet
The IRSN web site now features a “Catalogue and History of Criticality Experiments at Saclay (1958-1964) and Valduc - Building 10 (1964-2003)”. Also available on CD-Rom, this document summarizes the achievements resulting from 45 years of criticality experiments conducted in France.

A joint publication issued by CEA and IRSN, the document is the result of collaborative work carried out by the relevant departments of both organizations.

It is divided into five sections:
- classification of experiments (as defined by the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Project, ICSBEP) and a table summarizing all experimental programs,
- a history of programs conducted at Saclay and Valduc,
- references of experiment reports,
- photograph archives,
- description of the ICSBEP working group organization.


 consult the website

Radiation protection
Risk of cancer after low doses of ionising radiation
L’IRSN has participated to an epidemiological study coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and carried out on 400 000 nuclear workers in 15 different countries and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

 See the page in British Medical Journal Internet website:
Radiologial protection and environment
IRSN/IFREMER framework agreement and inauguration of the facilities in La Seyne-sur-Mer
The IRSN/IFREMER 2005 framework agreement was signed on Wednesday June 29, 2005. The agreement sets out the terms governing the cooperation of the two institutes in national and international study and research programs in the Mediterranean.
The agreement was signed at the inauguration of the renovated facilities of the Centre IFREMER de Méditerranée in La Seyne-sur-Mer. IRSN's Environmental and Operational Sector works in these facilities to develop Mediterranean study and research programs aimed at learning more about the behavior of natural and artificial radioelements in a marine environment.
Publication of the ECORAD congress proceedings
The ECORAD's proceedings have been published in the Radioprotection review (EDP sciences ed.). The congress, which took place in september 2004 in Aix en Provence, had the theme "The scientific basis for environment protection against radioactivity".
The proceedings can be ordered on the EDP sciences website, at the adress below.