The French "Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire" (IRSN), in support to the French "Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire", is analysing the safety of ITER fusion installation on the basis of the ITER operator’s safety file. IRSN set up a multi-year R&D program in 2007 to support this safety assessment process. Priority has been given to four technical issues and the main outcomes of the work done in 2010 and 2011 are summarized in this paper: for simulation of accident scenarios in the vacuum vessel, adaptation of the ASTEC system code; for risk of explosion of gas-dust mixtures in the vacuum vessel, adaptation of the TONUS-CFD code for gas distribution, development of DUST code for dust transport, and preparation of IRSN experiments on gas inerting, dust mobilization, and hydrogen-dust mixtures explosion; for evaluation of the efficiency of the detritiation systems, thermo-chemical calculations of tritium speciation during transport in the gas phase and preparation of future experiments to evaluate the most influent factors on detritiation; for material neutron activation, adaptation of the VESTA Monte Carlo depletion code. The first results of these tasks have been used in 2011 for the analysis of the ITER safety file. In the near future, this R&D global programme may be reoriented to account for the feedback of the latter analysis or for new knowledge.