IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Research Units

Mechanics and Materials Experimental Research Laboratory (LE2M)


The Mechanics and Materials Experimental Research Laboratory (LE2M) is located at Cadarache, in the Bouches du Rhône department. This laboratory is managed by Philippe March.






Context and research themes

The general mission of LE2M is to perform experimental studies on the behaviour of materials in accident situations, in particular nuclear fuel, as well as on thermal hydraulics when they interact with this behaviour. To carry out these studies, the LE2M uses the experimental platforms MAESTRO (for mechanics and materials) and THEMA (for thermohydraulics) from IRSN's Nuclear Safety Unit (PSN-RES).



Research axes


Within this framework, LE2M:


  • Defines, within its field of competence and together, the experimental programs that may be performed within its installations or those to which the IRSN has access and responding to the requirements for knowledge acquisition;
  • Defines the corresponding means, organizes the development or acquisition of the necessary skills, and acquires the experimental means by calling on the skills of LR2E with regard to engineering;
  • Prepares tests with support, in particular, from SEMIA and SAG for provisional calculations, performs them, formats (physical magnitudes produced) and analyzes the results (in particular, uncertainty related to measurements, and understanding of observed phenomena), and writes the experimental reports[1]
  • Produces and updates experimental databases related to the tests it performs;
  • Maintains the installations it uses in safe and operational condition;
  • Contributes, in liaison with SEMIA and SAG in particular, to production of the knowledge summaries intended for assessing safety and proposes research programs with the aim of improving the knowledge necessary for this assessment;
  • Exploits its skills and test means by providing services;
  • Maintains and develops skills in the technical and scientific disciplines necessary for performance of its mission.


Within its field of competence, LE2M provides assistance in particular to SEMIA on follow-up of experimental programs performed outside the PSN-RES, in France and in other countries.

It participates in the IRSN technical collaboration proceedings and in those scheduled by agreements with industrial partners or research organizations (AREVA, EDF, CEA, universities, etc.) with regard to laboratory activities.



Specialties and researchers


Emmanuel Rougé, head of laboratory

Serge Belval, maintenance technician

Guillaume Brillant, thermohydraulics researcher

Stéphane Charbaut, technician

Walter-John Chitty, researcher

Jean Desquines, mechanichs expert

Cristina Dominguez, materials researcher

Christian Duriez, materials expert

Franklin Foubert, thermohydraulics technician

Benjamin Fourré, thermohydraulics technician
Thierry Garcin, business manager

Séverine Guilbert, materials researcher

Joseph Huret, engineer

Pauline Lacote, technician

Benoît Migot, themohydraulics engineer

Hervé Mutelle, test engineer

Gaëlle Taraud, analysis technician




[1] For historical reasons, LE2M is also in charge of writing the final reports for the Phébus PF program.

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Mechanics and Materials Experimental Research Laboratory
BP 3
13115 Saint Paul Lez Durance cedex
By Phone: +33 (0)4 42 19 95 97


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