IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



Ended research programs

A few ended IRSN research programs are detailed in the page below.
To see the current research programs click here click here.

Safety in nuclear facilities


The aim of the ARCHER European project- Advanced High-Temperature Reactors for Cogeneration of Heat and Electricity R&D – is to get further knowledge relative to the technology of very high temperature reactors  (V-HTR) and, in particular, to demonstrate the safety of the concept.  It also aims to contribute to demonstrating the feasibility of the cogeneration of electricity and heat by a nuclear reactor.


The ASAMPSA2 project - Advanced Safety Assessment Methodologies: Level 2 Probabilistic Safety Assessment - was coordinated by the IRSN, and included 21 organisations from 12 European countries.


The BEMUSE project  - for Best-Estimate Methods – Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation - was an international project coordinated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in which IRSN was involved.


The BESTAIR (Beryllium Source Term due to an Accident in the ITER Experimental Reactor) project was led by IRSN in 2013-2014, with the aim of better assessing the potential release of beryllium into the environment in the event of an accident at the ITER facility.

CESAM (Code for European Severe Accident Management) is a project that aims to consolidate ASTEC, a software system for modelling nuclear reactor core meltdown accidents, as a European software of reference for the study of severe accidents, and in particular their management, in all types of Generation II and III reactors.

The COLOSS project aimed at improving severe accident codes.


The EURSAFE network consisted in a concerted action in the fifth framework program of the European Commission on sever accidents. 


The main objective was to distribute the severe accident integral code ASTEC (Accident Source Term Evaluation Code), jointly developed by IRSN and GRS, to European partners in order to apply the validation strategy issued from the VASA project within the 4th FwP and achieve a first evaluation of code capabilities.


The IFAT collaboration aimed study consequences of Chernobyl accident by studying the safety of the sarcophagus enclosing the damaged reactor, the accident's health and radioecological impact.


JASMIN (Joint Advanced Severe accidents Modelling and Integration for Na-cooled fast neutron reactors) is a project of the 7th Research and Development Framework Program (RDFP) of the European Commission. It seeks to extend to sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors (SFR) the use of ASTEC, a computer modelling package that simulates core-meltdown accidents in water-cooled nuclear reactors.

This experimental programme aims to validate criticality calculation codes for structural materials.


The PASSAM project launched in January 2013 and completed in late 2016 has investigated the possibilities for enhancing the reduction (referred to as "mitigation") of radioactive waste that may be released into the environment following the meltdown of the core of a nuclear reactor.

The severe accident research program called PHEBUS FP aims at reducing uncertainties concerning the evaluation of radioactive product releases in the event of a pressurised water reactor (PWR) core meltdown, as well as improving IRSN’s expertise and crisis management capacities in this field.


The RAPHAEL project aimed to develop research on generation IV nuclear reactors using gas and high temperatures (VHTR, Very High Temperature Reactors)


SERENA - Steam Explosion REsolution for Nuclear Applications – is an international experimental project coordinated by the OECD to which the IRSN in partnership with the CEA.

The SETH 2 project studied the thermal-hydraulics phenomena for the purposes of accident management.

The aim of the program SOURCE TERM is to reduce uncertainties concerning the assessment of the release of radioactive products into the environment following a core meltdown accident in a water reactor. Other programs included: EPICUR, MOZART, CHIP, BECARRE.

The THAI (thermal, Hydrogen, Aerosols, Iodine) project consisted in removing uncertainties regarding the distribution, combustion and mitigation of hydrogen as well as those concerning the behavior of fission products, including iodine and aerosols.

It aims to study of the effect of wind on accidental contaminating releases from a nuclear power plant. The Tivano program (from the French acronym meaning "Transfers Induced by Wind in Accident and Nominal Operating Conditions) aims particularly at qualifying the CFX calculation codes and the Sylvia software programs to better integrate the effects of wind in the release calculations.


Radiation protection for human health and environment 


The aim of the ALPAHA RISK program was to improve quantification of the risk of cancer and non-cancer diseases related to chronic external or internal exposure.


The ANTHOS project (Prerequisites for the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) combined with locally injected hydrogel and HS-mimetic for treating the side effects of abdominal-pelvic radiation therapy) aims to improve the effectiveness of MSC-based cell therapy in treating the severe side effects that may be induced by pelvic radiation therapy.  

BioQuaRT (Biologically weighted quantities in radiotherapy) aimed to gain additional knowledge regarding the dosimetry of ionizing radiation used in the medical field in order to potentially reconsider the concept of absorbed dose.


The CAROL program consisted in studying stocks and flows of radionuclides in the environment. 


The CURE (Concerted Uranium Research in Europe) project aimed to develop an innovative approach that integrates epidemiology, biology, dosimetry, toxicology and statistics to expand knowledge of the health effects of chronic uranium exposure and produce a protocol for a collaborative European research project on the topic.


The principal objective of the project is to develop a diamond dosimeter to measure the dose delivered in the minibeams used in stereotactic radiotherapy. This technique uses convergent beams of small size to very selectively irradiate a target of small dimensions (on the order of a square millimetre to a centimetre); they constitute a very-high-precision non-invasive treatment (unlike standard radiotherapy) useful for primitive or secondary tumours located near radiosensitive structures or difficult to access for surgery, such as the brain, spinal cord or lungs. These minibeams allow the total radiation dose distributed to the targeted tumours to be increased.


The study of external dosimetry in the Fukushima region (EDOFU) is a current research study (2014-2016) by IRSN aiming at better quantifying the evolution (in space and time) of ambient dose rates in the Fukushima region following the nuclear accident in 2011.


The ERICA project consisted in establishing a method for environmental risks for ionising contaminants.

The EXTREME Project, launched in 2005, studies transfers of materials (mainly artificial radioactivity inventory) during sudden and extreme weather and climate events. The EXTREME project draws on the results of two other projects: the CARMA Project (hydro-sedimentary study of the Rhone river region) and the EXTREMA Project (which extends the scope of Extreme to include metal contaminants in the Mediterranean coastal area).

​FORTRESS project (Foliar transfers of radionuclides in agricultural ecosystems), which ran from 2007 to 2011, was designed to quantify, under realistic conditions of full-field crop cultivation, the factors of translocation to the consumable parts of four cultivated crops for three elements sprayed onto the leaves of the plants.


The aim of the Freebird (Fukushima Radiation Exposure and Effects in BIRD populations) project, launched in 2011, is to study the effects of ionising radiation in birds in the contaminated zone situated 100 km around Fukushima.


The FUTURAE project aimed to make a review of radioecology in Europe and a feasibility study into the establishment of a new network of excellence of radioecology.


The GIPSIS project aims to develop an innovative therapeutic strategy for hematopoietic syndrome (the partial or complete destruction of blood stem cells) in patients with acute radiation syndrome (ARS), by generating hematopoietic stem cells (which give rise to blood cells) from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.


The GNR TRASSE program studied the phenomena and mechanisms of radionuclide transfer in soils, sub-soils and to ecosystems.


The IDEAS project aimed to draw the general guidelines for the estimation of commited effective dose from incorporation monitoring data.

The ISATIS (Ionizing Radiation and Biological Mechanisms) project focused on analyzing, in living organisms, damage to proteins induced by chronic exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation.

MULTIBIODOSE (Multi-disciplinary biodosimetric tools to manage high scale radiological casualties) aimed to improve and develop the operational capacities of different biodosimetric tools for large-scale accidental irradiation situations.

The RENEB project (Realizing European Network in Biodosimetry), which began in January 2012 and will end in late 2015, consists of the formation and implementation of the European biological dosimetry network. It is funded by the European Commission within the framework of the FP7-Fission-2011 call for proposals.

The consequences for a population and environment exposed to industrial pollution, especially if that pollution is radioactive, depend not only on the scale and type of the pollution, but also on the characteristics of the environment in which it occurs. This statement forms the basis of the Sensib radiological sensitivity project launched in 2004 by the IRSN Laboratory of Continental and Marine Radioecological Studies (Laboratoire d'Etudes Radioécologiques en Milieux Continental et Marin - LERCM). See also PRIME Project description, part of the SENSIB Project.


The project goal was to qantify the lung cancer risk after low radon exposure and low exposure rate and to make a synthesis from epidemiological and experimental data. 

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