IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

Search our site :


Contact us :

En Fr

All our expertise to protect you


Research units

Loss of Coolant Accident and Uncertainty Modeling Laboratory (LIMAR)

Last update on October 2018



The Loss-of-Coolant Accident and Uncertainty Modeling Laboratory (LIMAR) is located in Cadarache, near Marseille in the south of France. Its staff includes 13 permanent staff members and 4-6 PhD candidates and postdocs. It is mainly interested in taking into account uncertain information, reactivity accidents and loss-of-coolant accidents (LOCA) in the reactor core or spent fuel pool.




Background and research themes


LIMAR's general missions are to develop and maintain IRSN's knowledge of:
  • taking into account uncertain information in risk assessment,
  • thermal hydraulics and thermal transfers during reactivity injection accidents (RIA),
  • thermal hydraulics and nuclear fuel behavior in loss-of-coolant (LOCA), handling and spent fuel pool accidents,
  • thermal hydraulics of steam generators in normal and accident situations.
To this end, the laboratory develops methodologies and calculation software for safety studies of nuclear facilities and provides support for the use of the software. It prepares, analyzes and interprets tests for experimental programs in radioactive and non-radioactive environments.
LIMAR also carries out studies for safety assessment of nuclear reactors in France.
In this framework, the laboratory’s skills and expertise include:
  • statistics,
  • chemical physics and thermochemistry of materials,
  • rupture mechanics,
  • fluid mechanics in multiphase environments,
  • heat transfers,
  • scientific software development.




Research areas


Loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA)


  • Modeling of thermal hydraulics in the core and fuel behavior,
  • Development of DRACCAR software and integration of knowledge,
  • Preparation and interpretation of tests in IRSN's PERFROI program selected by the French National Research Agency (ANR),
  • Monitoring and interpretation of the OECD's Halden, SCIP and PKL research programs.



Accident due to loss of cooling or loss of coolant in spent fuel pools


  • Supervision, preparation and interpretation of tests in IRSN's DENOPI program selected by the ANR,
  • Modeling the thermal hydraulics of a spent fuel pool,
  • Modeling fuel behavior in the event of loss of coolant.



Reactivity accident: thermal hydraulics and heat exchanges


  • Modeling heat exchanges between cladding and coolant during fast transients,
  • Modeling fuel-coolant interaction,
  • Development of CIGALON software to assess fuel-coolant interaction.



Modeling uncertain information in risk assessment



Research team


Gaétan Guillard, Head of Laboratory
Jean Baccou, Research Engineer (statistics, data analysis and SUNSET software manager)
Sébastien Belon, Engineer (DRACCAR software manager)
Éric Chojnacki, Research Engineer and Expert (statistics and risk analysis)
Olivier De Luze, Engineer (fuel behavior in loss-of-coolant accidents)
Marc Forestier, Engineer (fluid mechanics)
Tony Glantz, Engineer (thermal hydraulics and fuel behavior in loss-of-coolant accidents)
Jimmy Martin, Engineer (fluid mechanics)
Pierre Ruyer, Research Engineer (fluid mechanics)
Christine Sartoris, Engineer (thermal hydraulics and fuel behavior in loss-of-coolant accidents)
Tatiana Taurines, Research Engineer (materials and fuel behavior in loss-of-coolant accidents)
Daniele Vivaldi, Engineer (fluid mechanics)
Juan David Pena Carrillo, PhD student (fluid mechanics and heat transfer in loss-of-coolant accidents, 2015-2018)
Jean Muller, PhD student (heat transfer, fuel-coolant interaction in RIA, 2018-2021)
Arthur Vieira Da Silva Oliveira, Post-doc (fluid mechanics and heat transfer in loss-of-coolant accidents, 2018-2020)
Oussama Raboun, PhD student (risk analysis, 2015-2018)
Valentin Scheiff, PhD student (fluid mechanics and heat transfer in RIA, 2015-2018)
Zhenhai Zou, PhD student (flow of granular media, 2016-2019)


Facilities and methods


The following resources are available at LIMAR:

Scientific calculation software developed by IRSN and mastery of numerous outside calculation tools
  • software for calculating the thermal mechanical behavior of nuclear reactor fuel rods (DRACCAR),
  • software for studying the behavior of fuel rod cladding in various situations, i.e. normal operation, handling, long term storage, LOCA, RIA (SHOWBIZ),
  • software for analyzing and propagating uncertainty and analyzing data (SUNSET),
  • software for calculating fuel-coolant interaction in the event of a reactivity accident (CIGALON),
Documentary databases (bibliographic collections and experimental data)
These databases relate to the results of in- and out-of-pile tests in the field of loss-of-coolant accidents in the reactor coolant system and spent fuel pools as well as data on materials, more particularly concerning oxidation, creep and the rupture of Zirconium alloys.
Partnerships and research networks
  • Toulouse Fluid Mechanics Institute (IMFT, UMR 5502), Toulouse
  • Theoretical and Applied Energetics and Mechanics Laboratory (LEMTA, UMR 7563), Nancy
  • Processes, Materials and Solar Energy Laboratory (PROMES, UPR 8521), Perpignan
  • University Institute of Industrial Thermal Systems (IUSTI, UMR 7343), Marseille
  • Centre for Energy and Thermal Sciences of Lyon (CETHIL, UMR 5008), INSA Lyon
  • Marseille Mathematics Institute (I2M, UMR 7373)
  • Laboratory for Analysis and Modeling of Decision Support Systems (LAMSADE, UMR 7243), Paris Dauphine
  • Major representatives of France's nuclear industry: CEA, EDF, Framatome.

Send Print

Publications and theses

Research programs

Computer codes





Loss of Coolant Accident and Uncertainty Modeling Laboratory
BP 3
13115 Saint Paul Lez Durance Cedex
by phone : +33 (0)4 42 19 95 58


Send to a friend

The information you provide in this page are single use only and will not be saved.
* Required fields

Recipient's email:*  

Sign with your name:* 

Type your email address:*   

Add a message :

Do you want to receive a copy of this email?