IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Loss of coolant accidents (LOCA): Franco-American cooperation

Open up prospects for collaboration to upgrade safety baselines in France and the United States as regards reactor accidents and present views shared by the international community in this area: these were the goals of a seminar that brought IRSN and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) together in Rockville, Maryland in mid-March.

At the seminar, IRSN and NRC exchanged views on the behaviour of nuclear fuel in a loss of coolant accident (LOCA) or a cooling pool dewatering accident. The two organizations discussed in particular upgrades to the corresponding safety baselines in France and the United States to reflect the state of the art in terms of knowledge of the phenomenology of this type of accident and the need to find out more about certain physical phenomena. They also reported on their ongoing LOCA research programs – IRSN's CYCLADES program and NRC's STUDSVIK tests – and their simulation tools, and they identified opportunities for collaboration in their national programs and their participation in international LOCA programs.

This Franco-American seminar was an occasion for both organizations to build consensus on views to be presented to the international community at the workshop devoted to loss of coolant accidents organized by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in April.

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