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As a public institution and stakeholder committed to nuclear safety and radiation protection, IRSN strives to provide solutions in these fields to meet current and future challenges which echo societal expectations. As such, it actively participates in the discussions and reflections of the various authorities and organisms it works with.

This is reflected in the gradual year-on-year roll-out of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy: a social and environmental commitment whose objective is, in particular, to reduce and manage the impact of its activities on the environment.

In terms of openness to society, IRSN has engaged to work in partnership with civil society stakeholders. This enables the Institute to support the upskilling of these stakeholders as well as to listen to their concerns and expectations, and better take these into account in its research and assessment activities.

The Institute’s actions also serve a public information role, helping the public better understand the issues related to nuclear and radiological risks. In this way, IRSN reaches out to the general public to raise awareness of these issues and explain the importance of its missions and how it is achieving them.

Finally, in terms of human resources management, the Institute aims, one, to improve the working conditions of its employees and, two, to bring onboard young people in training (internships, work-study programs, doctoral programs), to constitute a pool of future employees.


In accordance with the commitments set out in its CSR 2021–2023 roadmap, the dynamics of the Institute’s CSR policy are deployed through dedicated governance, which has now settled into its rhythm, and through a larger role in IRSN’s overall governance, with the CSR Officer participating in the Board meetings, for example. At the same time, the information and discussion channels have been consolidated, driven largely by the dynamics of the CSR practices community and the publication of a newsfeed every two months, and by annual events, such as European Sustainable Development Week. The Institute also takes part in government initiatives targeting ecological transition, such as Eco-responsible Public Services.


The Institute’s CSR policy is driven in part by events organized throughout the year to raise awareness, inform, mobilize and exchange good practices in the four main areas of commitment laid out in IRSN’s CSR roadmap:

  • An Institute committed to the protection of all
  • A mission and actions aimed at preserving the environment
  • High standards of excellence and accountability
  • Active involvement in society’s development.

In the field of social responsibility, the week dedicated to the social aspect of CSR entitled “Vous avez dit responsabilité sociale ?” (“What about CSR?”), running from June 20 to 23, included round tables open to all on various topics: “Solidarity travel”, “Solidarity actions”, “Committed concierge service” and “Remote working and quality of life in the workplace”. These events all helped to build in-house awareness of the actions taken by the Institute while at the same time throwing a spotlight on employee initiatives.

For the third edition of Sustainable Development Week, which took place from September 18 to October 6, mobility, biodiversity, digital sobriety, carbon impact, and climate were discussed during workshops or round tables organized on the Institute’s sites and which could be attended remotely. A CHIP (CHallenge of IRSN for the Planet) challenge was launched in order to share slices of life, tips, and eco-responsible actions. Individual and collective missions were proposed and accompanied by publications giving advice on health, the environment, and sustainable mobility.

During October, IRSN welcomed the CDDEP (Club for Sustainable Development of Public Companies and Establishments), under the auspices of the CGDD (General Commission for Sustainable Development, an organism of the Ministry for Ecological Transition), which is tasked with contributing to the accelerated transformation of public bodies towards a sustainable development model. On this occasion, a “Climate Fresk” (“Fresque du Climat”)[1], a training session for Fresk facilitators, and a sneak preview of the Digital Fresk were organized, followed by a visit to the Institute’s Emergency Response Center.


In 2022, IRSN published the calculations of greenhouse gas emissions related to its activities, based on 2019 data. This GHG emissions calculation enables IRSN to obtain a comprehensive overview of data relating to direct and indirect emissions. These figures will be updated and completed based on 2021 data to identify areas for action and keep the Institute on track along its low-carbon pathway.

[1] Pedagogical tool developed by Cedric Ringenbach.
To learn more about it:

In Brief


Formalized by year-end 2021, IRSN’s mobility plan was implemented in 2022 and concerns both business travel and commuting. It includes various measures aimed at reducing the use of private combustion engine vehicles, promoting shared or active modes of transport, and streamlining travel by promoting the use of videoconferencing. In addition, a sustainable mobility package has been put in place to promote alternative modes of transport to private combustion engine vehicles, by covering part of the commuting expenses of employees who use bicycles or carpool.


One focus of the Institute’s CSR policy is the structuring of the ecological transition and digital transition which has been laid out in a “Responsible Digital” roadmap. The main objective of this roadmap is to reduce the carbon footprint associated with digital activities, taking into account economic issues (impact of the increasing power consumption of digital technology), ecological issues (carbon impact), and social issues (access to digital technology and working conditions). Built around five pillars, it provides for training initiatives designed to build CSR reflexes in terms of purchasing and equipment life cycles, for example, and also covers the procedures for deploying the digital working environment for employees as well as data and infrastructure management.


To raise awareness among the Institute’s employees about the stakes of ecological transition, in particular meeting the challenges of climate change, IRSN has engaged in a Climate Fresks program[1] (“fresques du climat”) on its sites. This approach allows employees to better understand the links between human activities and climate change based on IPCC[2] data. In 2022, these workshops attracted more than 200 participants, while a pool of facilitators was trained to run the Fresks for current and future sessions.

[2] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an intergovernmental body established under the aegis of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme.


In 2022, IRSN strengthened its energy sobriety measures by, for example, lowering temperature thresholds in office buildings, reducing air renewal rates and temperatures in testing facilities, and programming its reversible air conditioning and electrical heating systems. An information campaign was launched in order to promote best practices and employee participation was requested via suggestion boxes and exchanges within the CSR practices community.


As part of the France Relance plan for the energy renovation of public buildings, IRSN has begun construction of a new office building on the Cadarache site (Bouches-du-Rhône). By the end of 2024, it will house 14 entities, currently dispersed across the site. The aim of this project is to achieve HQE Sustainable Building “Excellent level” certification, for the entire life cycle of the building (construction and operation). It features a bioclimatic design that will reduce energy consumption by more than 50% and an internal layout co-designed with its users. Furthermore, so-called “quick-win actions” were carried out on various IRSN buildings: centralization of the control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting equipment in building 05 Henri Jammet at Fontenay-aux-Roses, which mainly houses energy-intensive research laboratories; and thermal insulation of the facades of building C4 in Vésinet. These measures allow IRSN to commit on a low-carbon pathway in line with the objectives of the Government’s energy sobriety plan.


Continuously developing its approach to openness to society for more than 20 years now, IRSN pursues a dual objective: one, sharing its technical knowledge to support stakeholders in their upskilling and enabling them to carry out their own expert assessments; and two, taking into account society’s concerns and expectations in the Institute’s research and assessment work to bring a more informed outlook to these topics. This is a second area that is continuously being developed.


In July 2022, IRSN published the results of its annual Barometer on the perception of risks and safety by the French population. The web survey was carried out between November 15 and 22, 2021, before the conflict in Ukraine, polling around 2000 people. The aim of this Barometer, which has been produced for over 30 years, is to take an annual snapshot of the French people’s stance on a broad spectrum of risks, as well as the confidence they place in those managing these risks.

Among the notable trends in this edition, French confidence in scientific institutions is on the rise (64%) and climate change is becoming their main concern, on a par with health (22% of responses). With regard to nuclear issues, 87% of French people demand a high level of nuclear safety and 91% consider that: “comprehensible information about the risks of facilities must be made accessible to all”.

Among industrial and technological activities, according to the polling of the French population, nuclear power plants operation remains the activity that is most likely to cause a severe accident in France (27% of responses), followed by radioactive waste disposal (20%) and chemical facilities (18%). The opinion of the French on the construction of nuclear power plants is significantly more favorable than last year, whether concerning past constructions (60% favorable opinions, up 7 points) or future constructions (44% favorable opinions, up 15 points). The image of scientific experts is improving, up 4 points from November 2020, when it had been seriously eroded by the health crisis (54% favorable opinions). Among the nuclear stakeholders, the CNRS, ASN and IRSN are perceived as the most competent and credible, as in previous editions.
IRSN 2022 Barometer


As part of the public debate on “New nuclear reactors and the Penly project” organized by the National Commission for Public Debate (CNDP), Chantal Jouanno, its president, approached IRSN to provide the public with accessible information related to EDF’s project to build six new EPR2 nuclear reactors. For the CNDP, such a debate should offer the public the opportunity to learn more about and to express themselves on the advisability of building these new nuclear reactors, and on the possible alternatives. A dozen or so public meetings, in Normandy and other regions, were organized at the end of 2022, to be continued into the new year.

The CNDP structured the public debate around 10 main questions concerning EDF’s industrial program proposal. Examples include the timeliness of launching a new nuclear program; technical design; conditions and consequences of all kinds, including taking into account climatic and geostrategic uncertainties; and societal changes.

IRSN’s expertise was called upon to write up two reports submitted to the CNDP on October 18, 2022 concerning: one, the lessons learned from the design, manufacture, construction and operation of EPR-type pressurized water reactors, and, two, on alternatives to EPR2-type reactors, with a focus on “small modular reactors” (SMR). These reports were presented by IRSN at two public debates, the first on November 22 focusing on the comparison of the EPR and the EPR2 and its alternatives, and the second on December 1st, concerning feedback from the Flamanville EPR.

In addition, the Institute participated in a pluralistic approach to the clarification of controversies, organized prior to the debate by its organizers, and in workshops such as “meet-ups” with citizens organized by the ATD Quart Monde association.


IRSN has published a report in which it specifies to what extent and how it has taken into account the many exchanges engaged in during technical dialogue with civil society since 2014 as part of the fourth periodic safety review of 900 MWe reactors. A task force, a seminar, dialogue meetings and open public consultation have enabled IRSN to share knowledge and skills with citizens and to hear their expectations and concerns on the topics discussed. These various occasions have allowed the Institute to exchange ideas while conducting its technical assessments, prior to decision-making; but, above all these external points of view have helped inform IRSN’s perspective on the review dossier.

The report covers the questions brought up for each topic, such as compliance (a priority for the public in the online consultation in 2018) or improvements to emergency response plans in case of a core meltdown. It also specifies the IRSN notices and the corresponding educational documentation, as well as the reasons why some of the topics could not be covered. It was presented at the HCTISN on December 12, 2022. To expand on this review, the Institute explicitly integrated and mentioned in ten of its notices, published since 2019, answers to questions collated during technical exchanges and dialogues with civil society.


The creation of the ODISCE committee (French acronym for “Opening up and encouraging dialogue with civil society on expertise”) constitutes a new stage in the process of opening up to society. The aim of this committee is to boost the interactions between science and society around the expert assessment of nuclear and radiological risks. Comprising around twenty members with various profiles (participation experts, experts from associations, non-institutional experts, operator advisers and representatives of institutes that are signatories to the charter of openness to society, etc.), this body was set up in January 2022. Its mission is to advise the Institute on which dialogues to initiate in order to increase the relevance of the Institute’s risk evaluations, reflecting the concerns of civil society more precisely in the questions underlying these assessments. The creation of this committee fulfills a commitment made in the IRSN objectives and performance contract signed in 2019 with the Government. With ODISCE, the Institute makes a clear statement, announcing the structuring and lasting character of its Openness to Society initiatives. Through its work, ODISCE will help establish regular and in-depth dialogue on technical subjects relating to nuclear and radiological risks as well as the associated methods and assessments. The first topic for consideration by the committee concerned society’s involvement in the monitoring of the radiological state of the environment carried out by the Institute: the committee’s first technical notice, submitted to IRSN on November 28, 2022, includes 28 recommendations on methodology, with public interest in mind, and on specific actions and follow-up.



In Brief


Jean-Christophe Niel, the Director General of IRSN, attended the general assembly of ANCCLI (National association of local information committees and commissions) on June 28, 2022. He took the opportunity to review the many joint actions implemented in the fields of nuclear safety, radioactive waste, health, the environment, and crisis management. He also talked about the outlook for future assessments covering major safety and radiation protection issues, such as the fourth safety review of the 1,300 MWe reactors and the application for authorization to create CIGEO (a geological disposal solution).


The technical exchanges organized by ANCCLI, the CLIS (Local information and monitoring committee) of Bure, and IRSN on high-level waste (HLW) and intermediate-level long-lived waste (ILW-LL) continued in 2022. They focused on the global management of HLW & ILW-LL waste using a “serious game” type dialogue tool, and on alternatives to deep geological repositories.

Jean-Christophe Niel,
Director General of IRSN

After 10 years of implementing the IRSN’s Openness to Society Charter, we asked ourselves how we could further strengthen the interactions between IRSN and society, by envisioning new methods and expanding the scope of stakeholders involved. That is the objective of this new body. I want this ODISCE committee to come up with recommendations to help us question in a new light the way we do things or else bring new data to the table. For IRSN, it’s about being an even more civic-minded scientific institute contributing to health and environmental democracy.

Michel Badré,
Chair of the ODISCE Committee

There can be no useful science or technology, nor any sound democratic decision in complex technical areas, if experts and society do not discuss it in depth. Dialogue is the best and sometimes only way to build trust between experts and citizens, or even to simply ensure that trust is there at all. The practice of promoting interaction between experts and society is developing, and that should allow everyone to fully exercise their rights and responsibilities.


One of IRSN’s missions is to contribute to informing the public on nuclear safety and radiation protection. For the Institute, this means striving to raise awareness among the public, particularly young people, of the main issues related to radiological and nuclear risks, and the role of IRSN in terms of research, expertise, and monitoring. It also ensures that appropriate and objective information is made available to each target audience.


Participation in the Fête de la Science (Science Festival), from October 7 to 17, 2022, was an opportunity for IRSN to showcase the research it has conducted since its creation, through an operation entitled “20 years of science”. During this Festival, the Institute’s experts and researchers were involved in various events nationwide. The aim was to explain to the public the radiological and nuclear risks, and the work carried out to better understand and assess these risks. Laboratory visits, exhibitions, fun workshops, interaction with the public: the Fontenay-aux-Roses (Hauts-de-Seine) and Vésinet (Yvelines) sites opened their doors to the public to present the Institute’s missions in terms of monitoring, radiation protection, crisis management, and research. More specifically, the work presented during this event focused on how a criticality accident unfolds, IRSN’s role in combating cancer, and crisis management, as well as the analysis and metrology of radioactivity in the environment. Lastly, the new version of the educational exhibition: “RADIOACTIVITY – Discover & Understand” was presented for the first time (see text below).

The Institute’s researchers also participated in the Villages des Sciences (Science Villages) events held in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (Manche), Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), Vinon-sur-Verdon (Var), and Gap (Hautes-Alpes), where they led various workshops to playfully address issues related to radioactive iodine, fire behavior, pressurized water reactor power plant fuel, the transfer of radioactivity to air or water, etc.

A total of around 170 employees attended nine events and welcomed more than 1,200 visitors in the Île-de-France region, as well as 250 students in educational workshops.

At the same time, the Institute participated in Science en direct (“Science Live”), a show recorded in public in the Grand Gallery of Evolution (National Museum of Natural History, Paris) and broadcast live on the YouTube channel L’Esprit Sorcier, which offers ample opportunity for interactivity with the public. Presented by scientific journalist Fred Courant and accessible to all, this show highlighted in particular several topics studied at IRSN, such as natural hazards and the protection of nuclear facilities against the risk of flooding, and research conducted on the transgenerational effects of radioactivity.

Lastly, and still as part of the Fête de la Science, the Institute participated in the Science in the Classrooms initiative, where researchers met up with schoolchildren and high school students from southeastern France and guested in classrooms to present their professions as scientists and researchers and talk about the projects they were working on.


After a two-year hiatus due to the health crisis, the International High School Meetings on Radiation Protection took place in Fontenay-aux-Roses on May 23 – 24, 2022. These events, which have been held for nearly 15 years by IRSN, in partnership with the CEPN (Study Center for assessment and protection in the nuclear field), the ASN (French Nuclear Safety Authority), the INSTN (French Nuclear Sciences and Techniques Institute), the Pavillon des Sciences of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and the SFRP (French Radiation Protection Society), allow high school students from French and foreign institutions to meet each other and share their scientific projects on the risks linked to radioactivity carried out during the school year with the support of their teachers, accompanied by experts and researchers.

The projects for 2022 presented by some 80 students from different French regions, Japan and Moldova are multidisciplinary and voluntary. They provide an opportunity to raise awareness among young people of the risks associated with radioactivity and of various aspects of the practical side of radiation protection. Japanese high school students presented their projects remotely on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident; the Moldova students, who made the journey to Fontenay-aux-Roses, talked about the presence of radon in the wells of Moldovan villages. As for the French high school students, they had worked on various themes such as radioecology, radiation protection in medical and veterinary environments, and high-activity radioactive waste management around the world. In the course of these Meetings, the high school students also visited IRSN’s research facilities in Fontenay-aux-Roses and chatted with experts and researchers in nuclear safety and radiation protection.


In 2022, IRSN completely overhauled the content of the exhibition: “RADIOACTIVITY – Discover & Understand” developed jointly with the ASN. This exhibition provides objective and educational information on radioactivity, its uses, the risks it may present, and its effects on health and the environment.

Composed of more than 80 panels divided into 11 themes, the “RADIOACTIVITY – Discover & Understand” exhibition, offering clear explanations and illustrated by computer graphics, is designed for anyone curious about the issues surrounding radioactivity. It has been made available for many years to schools, healthcare facilities, local authorities, and local information commissions.

This new version of the exhibition was presented for the first time at IRSN sites in the Île-de-France region, which opened their doors for the Fête de la Science (Science Festival).

In Brief


In response to the 48% of French people concerned about the management of nuclear waste, which is perceived as an important source of risks (2021 edition of the IRSN Barometer), IRSN has produced a series of videos featuring researchers and experts. These educational tools address the questions that many people have about nuclear waste.


Ensuring the quality of working conditions in line with employee expectations and maintaining an attractive market position, anticipating skills renewal needs, welcoming young talent, and advancing in the field of equality in the workplace are all priorities implemented in the IRSN human resources management policy.


As part of its “young people” policy designed to meet the commitments made in terms of skills renewal and transfer, IRSN welcomes students on work-study placements every year. From technician to engineer, from manager to project lead, the work-study program covers a wide range of profiles for periods of one to three years. In the form of an apprenticeship or professionalization contract, this scheme enables young people to receive training while they work, as well as helping job seekers or people with disabilities get back into the workforce. In 2022, 27 new work-study students joined the Institute’s teams, bringing the total to 47: 20 women, 27 men.

In parallel, 117 trainees (68 men and 49 women) were also onboarded: 27 were working towards an undergraduate diploma and 90 were working towards a Master’s or postgraduate degree.

More generally, IRSN is rolling out a three-pronged action plan to boost recruitment of young people:

  • Directing the recruitment of work-study students to anticipate and compensate for staff taking retirement; strengthening IRSN’s skills in the emerging trades and professions; and creating a pool of candidates for permanent recruitment;
  • Developing partnerships and strengthening relations with schools and universities, in particular with postgraduate institutions and schools offering work-study courses;
  • Setting up targeted sourcing actions with specialized recruitment firms in order to make IRSN more visible on the labor market and attract new talent. In 2022, an employer brand was rolled out to optimize the recruitment of young people on the labor market.


On September 13, 2022, IRSN signed an agreement with the ASN on the mobility of the Institute’s employees, enabling employees to follow a career path or implement a personal career project through mobility to the ASN. This agreement updates the previous agreement dating from 2011 and reaffirms the need for continuity of action between assessment and control. It also takes into account the institutional and organizational developments of the ASN and IRSN, as well as the increased need for nuclear safety and radiation protection skills.

The system provides for two possible forms of mobility: personalized support for employees, and the leveraging of experience acquired at the ASN when rejoining IRSN.


In February 2022, IRSN published its memorandum on equality in the workplace, based on five indicators which have measured various data since 2019: gender pay gaps, differences in the rates of individual pay rises between women and men, differences in the rate of promotions between women and men, percentage of employees who benefited from a pay rise on returning from maternity leave, number of employees of under-represented gender among the company’s top ten wage-earners. For 2021, the overall score was 93/100: this is an improvement over the 88/100 score of the three previous years. This progress marks an acceleration in the Institute’s policy on equality in the workplace and diversity as part of its corporate social responsibility policy. In particular, it results from the agreement on gender equality in the workplace concluded on June 9, 2021, which sets objectives for progress in the fields of job promotion, work-life balance, working conditions, and the reduction of pay gaps between women and men.

33.3% IN 2020),

88/100 IN 2020, 2019
AND 2018),

In Brief


In 2022, IRSN pursued its policy of improving working conditions, mainly with an ambitious “Quality of life and working conditions” agreement to improve quality of life in the workplace, including, in particular, concessions with regard to work-life balance. This agreement is a follow-on to the conventional corpus which was extensively revised in 2021 to meet the challenges of employer attractiveness, particularly in terms of quality of life and working conditions: job & skills planning, training, workplace equality, disability policy, working from home, etc.