IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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1st semester 2011 scientific news



European project

Star: European network of excellence for radioecology



Launched in February 2011, the Strategy for Allied Radioecology (STAR) network of excellence, coordinated by IRSN, groups together nine European partners. The objective is to pool the knowledge, infrastructures and research efforts of the different partners involved in order to create a genuine "European research area in radioecology”.






Pollution modelling

The first results of Disver2010 coincide with the end of the 2011 campaign measurements



Last April, a new sea water sampling campaign was conducted by the LRC (radioecology laboratory) of IRSN as part of the DisVer programme (vertical dispersion of radionuclides in the sea). It completes the campaign conducted in October 2010, the measurements of which have just been completed. The aim of the DisVer programme is to validate the computations of a three-dimensional model simulating the dispersion of a plume of radioactive pollutants.


 To find out more 




Final colloquium for the ANR-Extrema project



A final colloquium was held on the 4th and 5th May 2011 bringing together all the participants and partners in the ANR-Extrema project, led by the IRSN and dedicated to the analysis of the consequences of extreme meteorological and climatic events in relation to the redistribution of certain contaminants (artificial radionuclides and trace metals). This colloquium provided an opportunity for the participants to present their work and the results obtained during the Extrema project.

The presentations were divided into groups corresponding to the compartments of the geosphere being studied: Atmosphere, Rivers, Coastal environment, and Plateau-canyon.
The colloquium also prepared the final report to be submitted to the ANR at the end of August  2011.

 View the colloquium programme (.pdf)
 For more information on the Extrema project 

Chernobyl 25 years on

A book on the causes of the accident and the lessons to be learned from it



Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl accident, a book entitled "Tchernobyl, 25 ans après… Fukushima". Quel avenir pour le nucléaire?’ (Chernobyl, 25 years on... Fukushima. What future for nuclear power?) has just been published.

Co-written by Michel Chouha, an IRSN engineer, and Paul Reuss, a former CEA engineer, the book features a preface written by the Director General of the IRSN and offers a precise analysis of the nuclear energy question and the consequences of the Chernobyl accident.

Following a general review of the global energy context, the authors discuss both the fundamental scientific and technical aspects of nuclear physics and the problems of nuclear safety.

A detailed description of the RBMK reactor involved in the Chernobyl accident highlights the safety shortcomings inherent in the design of this type of reactor, the causes of the Chernobyl accident, and the improvements to safety that have subsequently been implemented. Eleven reactors of this type are still in operation in Russia.

Finally, the book describes promising new reactor designs and offers a perspective on the use of nuclear power as a future energy source in a world shaken by the recent tragedy in Fukushima.
Written by: Chouha Michel, Reuss Paul 
Published by: Tec & Doc – Lavoisier 
Date of publication: 04-2011 
216 p. 15.5x24 Paperback
Price: 43.00 €

 Order a copy of the book here

Chernobyl 25 years on

International conference in Kiev



The Ukraine organised an international conference in Kiev between the 20th and 22nd April to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. The theme of the conference was nuclear safety. The event was organised in partnership with a number of national and international nuclear safety institutes, including the IRSN.

A number of well-known international figures were invited to speak, including the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Jacques Repussard, Director General of the IRSN, gave a presentation on Nuclear Safety in the 21st Century.

The scientific and technical work of the conference included poster sessions and five more technically oriented sessions covering nuclear risk, the consequences of an accident, and protection systems. A number of IRSN specialists gave presentations on their work.

  For more information




AERES: A positive assessment for IRSN research units



The French Agency for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (AERES) has published an assessment report following its inspection of the IRSN research units at the end of June 2010. The report appeared on the Agency’s web site in early November. The units inspected included the Neutronics and Containment of Radioactivity in Nuclear Installations Research Unit, the Environmental Research Unit, the Reactor Safety Research Unit, and the Human Radiological Protection Research Unit. The inspection was carried out by twenty-six experts, including five from outside France.

Among the strengths of the units, the Agency highlighted the harmony and productivity of the mix of consultancy and research work carried out by these units. The Agency also reported that each of the units had acquired an international reputation in its particular field, with some occupying a unique and original position due to their multi-disciplinary nature. Finally, the Agency noted the commitment of the researchers to the mission of the Institute, a strong indicator of the quality of their working conditions. AERES suggested a number of areas for improvement, particularly in the definition of research strategy, an increasingly important factor given that consultancy could overtake research as the nuclear industry recovers. The Agency also recommended that each unit should develop more structured links and interchanges with the academic world, increase the number of persons authorised to supervise research (HDR), encourage the mobility of researchers, and strengthen internal scientific leadership in a number of fields. Some of these stumbling blocks had already been identified as part of the IRSN’s own review process, and measures will be put in place to ensure that improvements are made.

AERES is currently completing their assessment of the Institute. Their report is expected in March. 

 View the four unit assessment reports on the AERES web site



 Training through research and training for research

Publication of the 2009 Annual Report



The IRSN has published their 2009 Annual Report on training through research and training for research within the Institute. This includes information on the PhD research carried out, and the persons authorised to supervise research in the various IRSN laboratories.