IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Research units

Technical Center for Nuclear Equipment Certification (CTHEN)

The Technical Center for Nuclear Equipment Certification is located at the CEA's Saclay site (Essonne).
Set up in 1991, the CTHEN is currently directed by Jérôme Richard and employs three engineers.

It is attached to the Airborne Pollutants and Containment Department, Nuclear Safety Research Unit (PSN-RES/SCA).



The CTHEN assesses the performance of equipment mainly used in the nuclear industry, referring to pre-defined baselines (technical specifications, standards and regulatory texts, etc.).
Its expertise covers the following types of equipment:

  • Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE (ventilated and non-ventilated clothing that protects against radioactive or chemical contamination in aerosol form, gloves for use in the laboratory or within the reactor containment, and X-ray protection aprons);
  • Ventilation and purification system components (primarily meaning High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters and fire dampers).

Conformity is assessed by examining technical documentation (components, production methods, factory inspection procedures, quality assurance, etc.) and analyzing the results of tests conducted at partner laboratories and/or accredited laboratories.


Main activities of the CTHEN center:

  • Certification of personal protective equipment: The CTHEN center is authorized by French ministerial authorities to carry out tests and inspections intended to demonstrate the compliance of certain types of equipment with European requirements. The corresponding compliance certificates (referred to as 'standard CE inspection certificates') allow the equipment to bear the CE mark and to be distributed in the European community (to date, the CTHEN center has issued approximately 280 of these certificates).
  • Processing of requests for approval of filters or fire dampers (approximately 25 approval certificates currently being validated). Lists of products approved by the CTHEN and baselines used for approval may be consulted on request.
  • Technical expertise and assessments for various authorities.


The CTHEN center participates in the following:

  • Standardization committees and task forces of various authorities, both French (AFNOR) and European (CEN), devoted to personal protective equipment (nuclear and chemical).
  • French and European bodies for the coordination of authorities certified in the field of personal protective equipment.



Technical resources


Tests intended for CE certification and approval are mostly performed using the technical resources of Serac laboratories (Lecev and LPMAC). The CTHEN center also calls on outside authorities such as the CEA/DRT/DIMRI/SIAR (CEA radiation department), the LRCCP (laboratory for the study and monitoring of rubber and plastics), the IFTH (French textile institute), and the LNE (French national testing laboratory).

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