Enhancing nuclear safety

IRSN, the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety, is the national public expert on nuclear and radiological risks. IRSN contributes to public policies in the fields of nuclear safety and ionizing radiation protection for public health and environment. As a research and scientific institution it acts in consultation with all stakeholders concerned by these policies, while preserving its independence of judgment.
IRSN is a public institution with industrial and commercial activities (EPIC) and it is placed under the joint authority of the Ministers of environment, research, energy, health and defense.


Areas of expertise

Our areas of specialization include environment and radiological emergency response, human radiation protection in both a medical and professional capacity, and in both normal and post-accident situations, the prevention of major accidents, nuclear reactor safety, as well as safety in nuclear plants and laboratories, transport and waste management, and nuclear defense and security expertise.

IRSN interacts with all parties concerned by these risks (public authorities, especially nuclear safety and security authorities, local authorities, companies, research organizations, stakeholders’ associations, etc.) to contribute to public policy issues related to nuclear safety, human and environmental protection against ionizing radiation, and the protection of nuclear materials, facilities, and transport against the risk of malicious acts.


Research, assesment, openness to society

Research, assessment and openness to society are three key issues of IRSN’s strategy for enhancing global nuclear safety. In all these strategic areas, it has developed initiatives with its counterparts, coordinated or contributed to targeted scientific projects, e.g. IRSN is involved in ETSON (European TSO Network) development and Euratom Horizon 2020 work program.

IRSN also defines and conducts research programs aimed at maintaining and developing the skills necessary for expert assessments in its areas of expertise. It either carries out the programs itself or, in a European or international context, may entrust them to other French or foreign research organizations.




Research training

IRSN is deeply involved in research training resulting in an increasing number of young researchers joining IRSN laboratories each year, with a several tens doctoral students and about twenty post-doctoral fellows per year. Concurrently, IRSN is encouraging its senior researchers to apply for Accreditations to Supervise Research, aiming at 50 certified research directors.

Like most research organizations, we consider research training one of our core missions to transfer the knowledge and skills acquired in our laboratories. At IRSN, research is conducted with a purpose: beyond the quest for knowledge, it aims to reinforce the quality and pertinence of its expertise in nuclear and radiation risks in order to provide support to public authorities and the relevant players in society. In this context, research training provides an ideal intellectual environment, offering high-quality joint supervision, and access to state-of-the art equipment, aiming not only to impart the methods, but also to nurture an aptitude for anticipating the societal issues raised at the Institute.


Collaboration with academic and research organizations

Research training is also an integral part of the general policy implemented by IRSN to reinforce its relationships with universities, institutes of higher education, and eminent scientific organizations. These collaborative projects are fundamental, since they contribute to the reinforcement of fundamental research, which in turn supports applied research:

  • They provide an influx of new skills that complement the in-house competencies of the Institute.
  • They contribute to the validation of scientific results by initiating exchanges with outside experts, opening research work to new ideas.
  • Collaborative projects allow IRSN experts to participate in training programs offered by its partners, thus encouraging its researchers to push investigations forward in their own discipline, furthering their action within the Institute.


Key figures



of IRSN’s annual 280 M budget spent on research


43,109 hours
of training given to maintain the skill levels of engineers and experts


3,020 hours
of teaching given outside the Institute (Universities, engineering schools, INSTN, etc.) and at ENSTT


international projects


€20.36 M
from commercial services revenues, including €10.89 M for dosimetry services