IRSN is involved in the Nuclear Criticality Safety Program (NCSP) led by the United States Department of Energy (US DOE). It recently took part in the program’s annual technical review, which was held in mid-March 2016 in Albuquerque (United States).
A criticality accident is a major risk that must be taken into account at nuclear facilities, especially fuel cycle facilities. The licensees of such facilities must implement provisions to prevent the risk of uncontrolled chain reactions in the nuclear fuel, which occur without any precursor.
It is within this context that IRSN has been associated with the US DOE’s NCSP since 2013. The Institute is actively involved in defining the program and takes part in experimental work using its own equipment where appropriate. Collaboration also covers numerical simulation tools, nuclear data evaluation and training.
The participation of a non-American organization in the NCSP testifies to IRSN’s special relationship with its American partners and the recognition of its expertise in criticality research.
The partnership with the NCSP is a perfect illustration of IRSN’s international partnership strategy named PRINCESS (PRoject for IRSN Neutron physics and Criticality Experimental data for Supporting Safety). PRINCESS aims to conduct joint research programs with organizations that are equipped with experimental facilities for criticality research and studies.
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