Research is an essential activity for IRSN, which devotes around 40% of its resources to it. This level of investment has two main objectives. First, it provides the Institute’s teams in charge of assessing dossiers related to nuclear safety, to radiological protection of the environment, the public, patients and workers, to environmental radiation monitoring, or to human health, with new-found knowledge resulting from finalized research. This enables the teams to fulfill, in complete independence, their mission as public experts in radiological and nuclear risks, providing support to the public authorities in all these fields. Two, it involves looking further ahead, in an anticipatory or exploratory research approach, which is aimed at acquiring knowledge and skills in new paths or concepts, not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of organization.

Whatever their nature and scope – national, European or international – IRSN’s research programs are designed, for the most part, as partnerships in conjunction with universities, laboratories, technical nuclear safety organizations, etc. They are also integrated in schemes such as the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Research Program (RSNR) financed by the Investment Program for the Future and operated by the French National Research Agency or the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework Program. Finally, in order to define its research policy and govern its programs, the Institute draws on two complementary bodies: the Scientific Council and the Research Steering Committee.

Organisation & strategy 

Programs & projects

To ensure that its expertise is relevant, IRSN develops its own research programs. These give priority to national and international collaboration, with the creation of partnerships and joint research units. IRSN assists public authorities in anticipating future issues concerning the evolution and control of risks associated with nuclear activities, and develops research into accidents and crisis management.

Scientific teams and tools

IRSN develops and uses its own facilities and experimental research resources, creates databases in its fields of expertise and develops numerous calculation codes in nuclear safety and radiation protection.