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European Commission Prospective considerations concerning nuclear fission research



The Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP) held a meeting from the 26th to 28th May 2008 in order to finalize the first issue of the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that is intended to determine research into nuclear fission in Europe over the next 40 years. IRSN is deeply involved in the SNETP. The agenda, along with its implementation and financing strategy, will be made public on November 14th on the occasion of the European Science Days and will be applied from the end of 2008 and over the coming years. However, it may be amended every 2 years in order to take account of new needs.


The SNETP was launched in September 2007. Its members are the major European nuclear decision-makers, including the European nuclear Technical Safety Organisations (TSOs). They participate in working groups aimed at defining the main lines of research, and in the SNETP Steering Committee. Here and now, the work performed by the platform will have a great effect on the next three Euratom framework programmes (FPs). They provide the means of directly setting up programmes between platform members. On the initiative of the IRSN, the safety of existing reactors, radiation protection of personnel and populations and nuclear waste management aspects were taken into particular consideration during these days of discussions.


The IRSN, which is an active participant in the TSOs, represents them within the framework of the SRA and is coordinating the working group dedicated to nuclear safety. Three fields of research are involved: analysis of uncertainties and safety margins; existing and evolutionary reactors (reactor physics, thermal-hydraulics, severe accidents, criticality, nuclear fuel, integrity of structures, fire, electrical systems and human factors) ; and future fission reactors (calculations, residual heat, fuel integrity, fission products, reduction of major accident risk, in-service inspections).


In addition to the safety working group, eight other working groups have been set up to define the main lines of research of the SRA. These concern the different types of reactor and the fuel cycle, plus related themes such as modelling or materials. Other TSO representatives also participate in these working groups since the subjects directly concern their missions. The IRSN is mainly involved in the "GEN II and GEN III Light Water Reactors", "GEN IV Fast Systems" and "Modelling, simulation and methods" groups.

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