IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Continuation of the fruitful collaboration between IRSN and its Slovakian partner VUEZ

VUEZ and IRSN have been collaborating for 20 years on one aspect of long-term cooling of a nuclear reactor during an accident situation, specifically the efficiency of the sumps, the ultimate means for protecting the core in these situations. VUEZ and IRSN have built several experimental systems to study the efficiency of filters protecting these sumps from the risk of clogging with all kinds of debris (fibres, paint, concrete dust, adhesive, etc.) that may fall into the sumps.

The Viktoria facility, the most recent, developed as part of the partnership between VUEZ and IRSN, turned ten years old in December 2021.

The meeting between VUEZ and IRSN, on 13 April at the Viktoria site, was an opportunity to review ten years of collaboration and to exchange information on experimental programmes for studying various filter models used for 900 MWe French reactors and for the EPR. The programmes will continue in 2022 and 2023 to test the filters 1300 MWe reactors. In the longer term, the possibilities of building an international programme around Viktoria, which would also enable VUEZ and IRSN to perform services for foreign industry players, were also discussed.
 The VUEZ and IRSN teams, led by Cyril Svolik, Chairman of the VUEZ Board, and Jean-Christophe Niel, Director General of IRSN, hosted the French Ambassador in Slovakia, His Excellency Pascal Le Deunff, who wanted to visit this facility to affirm, once again, France’s commitment to continued collaboration with Slovakia in the nuclear field.
This visit to Viktoria was also an opportunity for Jean-Christophe Niel to meet VUJE (our TSO counterpart), UJD (the nuclear safety authority) and the Slovakian Secretary of State for Energy (M. K Galek).

With the Secretary of State and the Director of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Mrs. M. Ziakova, in the presence of the French Ambassador, Jean-Christophe Niel was able to discuss current issues related to the state of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, in the context of the Russian invasion, and what consequences this situation may have for EU countries. The discussions with the President of the Nuclear Safety Authority also dealt with the importance, for nuclear countries, of preserving dedicated nuclear safety research tools, necessary for maintaining high-quality nuclear safety expertise, which is indispensable for the work of nuclear safety authorities and for protecting the environment and the public.
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