IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Seismic hazards: IRSN invites key European seismic fault specialists to enhance scientific cooperation

European countries have intensified their seismic research ever since the Fukushima accident showed that knowledge of active faults is a key factor in evaluating the related hazards.

Organized at IRSN’s initiative, key European seismic fault specialists met in Paris at the end of 2014 to take stock of current knowledge and practices and to seek better convergence of European efforts in this field.

The seminar brought together Belgian, British, French, Greek, Italian, Norwegian and Spanish specialists from academia, national geological surveys, and organizations specialized in risk assessment such as IRSN.    

The discussions highlighted the sizeable difficulty of defining robust models to assess fault behavior, given the uncertainties surrounding available basic data. In the current state of knowledge, a wide range of seismic scenarios may be postulated for a given fault to calculate the hazards, rendering quite complex the choice of levels to be used in the initial or upgrade design of nuclear facilities

Resulting from this meeting, the participants agreed on the need to continue the discussions through the constitution of an open European working group. The objective will be to share basic data interpretations on a wider scale and to benchmark methods for factoring faults into seismic hazard calculations.

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