Transformation, openness to society and CSR

In 2021, in the context of the Covid-19 health crisis, IRSN continued to implement the roadmap laid out in its document: Ambitions & strategy 2030 in order to address future issues in terms of societal expectations, the development of the energy landscape, the development of nuclear technologies and facilities, the use of ionising radiation in medicine, etc. The Institute has undertaken or continued to pursue various actions aimed at adapting its governance to the priorities of its responsible Ministries, its institutional contacts and the community.

It has undertaken the revision of its Ethics Charter and renewed the composition of the committee responsible for keeping its management bodies informed in this regard. With the desire to pursue its mission of sharing the know-how and skills of its experts through training and mentoring, the Institute has created the IRSN Academy. Drawing on the precious experience of ENSTTI, whose training and mentoring activities ceased in 2020, the IRSN Academy will continue to promote the Institute’s know-how in these topics of excellence.

The CSR commitments of the Institute have been broken down into several actions marked by particular highlights, such as mobility week or sustainable development week.

Lastly, the openness to society and transparency approach, along with the actions implemented by the Institute, have been presented and promoted to IRSN’s European peer organisations, and IRSN has reinforced its exchanges with stakeholders such as Greenpeace. Also, as it does every year, IRSN has polled the French population on the topic of their perception of risks and safety, in order to understand how this perception evolves over time and to provide a better response to the concerns in the field of radiological and nuclear risks.

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A responsible institute


Independent of the IRSN, the Ethics Commission (CED) is composed of seven members who, under its Chair, Françoise Roure, contribute to the governance of the Institute by providing their insight into questions concerning ethics and code of conduct, be it with regard to research, expert appraisal, interactions with industry, or relations with society. In its activities report for the period 2020-2021, the Ethics Commission details the four notices it published between the start of 2020 and mid-2021 and discusses more broadly the state of the work and the topics treated in the course of the meetings it held over the period concerned.


In a changing world, and in line with the societal expectations and major environmental issues, IRSN deploys its corporate social responsibility policy over a wide spectrum of actions: scientific and technical activities, management modes, and daily practices. This dynamic draws on the dedicated governance set up internally, involving the Institute’s employees, as well as externally, with space reserved to exchanges with other stakeholders, in particular the Ministries and public bodies for the pooling of experience. In this way the Institute contributes to the dynamic of Agenda 2034 France, for achieving the 17 sustainable development objectives set by the Member States of the UN.

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A very active year for the Social and Economic Committee

Against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IRSN Social and Economic Committee (CSE) met 14 times in 2021, resuming in the course of the year – when this was possible – its plenary meetings in-person, conditions that are far more conducive to dialogue between management and workers. The CSE pronounced on many recurrent subjects (budget, social policy, strategic orientations, training, etc.) as well as on projects central to employee concerns (DESIR project, IRSN Academy, recourse to exceptional work organisation, etc.). Aside from topics linked to health, safety and working conditions in the context of the health crisis, the Committee monitors in particular the management of the employment situation linked to over-staffing in 2020.

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Management of human capital


The signing of the agreement on renewal and skills transfer of March 2020 testifies to IRSN’s intention to manage the development of its payroll. The initial conclusions for the set of provisions in this agreement are positive: during the subscription period from April 2022 to June 2021, 121 employees signed up for the early retirement scheme out of the 222 who were eligible, constituting a 54.5% subscription rate, higher than the average rate observed for this type of scheme. In parallel, the Institute hirings constituted 37.4% young people aged 30 or under, and 56.9% under-35s in 2020. Lastly, the expected savings are consistent with the simulations made when the scheme was launched.


2021 signalled major progress in the managerial transformation culture, with a general sense of momentum being manifested both in terms of governance and with respect to local managers. Hence, 33 groups of managers were able to work together to develop experiments aimed at making the operation of their units simpler and more fluid. A good proportion of the experiments conducted are being analysed within a “simplification” task force, with a view to rapid deployment across the Institute.

This has meant that, with the renewal of certain managerial mandates, a new approach has been able to be tested for the examination of certain applications for job vacancies in 2021. The objective has been to encourage the emergence of applications from new sources, to expand the assessment body for applicants beyond the purely technical scope of the posts in question, and to promote more collegial decision-making. Furthermore, the Institute’s innovation laboratory (IRSN Lab) has contributed to redefining the role of the Institute’s governance bodies (executive committee and management committee) for greater efficiency in their operation, decision-making and decision implementation.

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Training and capitalising on knowledge


Taking over in 2021 the commercial training activities managed until the end of 2020 by the ENSTTI EEIG, IRSN intends to continue, with its IRSN Academy, to build on its capital of know-how and the skills of its experts with the goal of improving safety and radiation protection in France and worldwide.

The training dispensed in France since September 2021 has enabled 124 people to be trained in the course of 13 training sessions, aimed mainly at professionals responsible for risk prevention, control and management. IRSN Academy obtained, moreover, QUALIOPI certification in December 2021, proof of its competences in the organisation and management of occupational training.


Encouraging the sharing of knowledge and collaboration between persons practising the same trade (assistant, manager, etc.) or the same missions (quality, etc.), or who share common interests (CSR, etc.): this is the goal of the communities of practices programme of IRSN, of which eight communities were launched in 2021 and eight others are in the course of preparation. In parallel, the increased number of documents (>500,000) accessible with the internal search engine and implementation of a new collaborative monitoring platform have improved access to and sharing of information and knowledge, enabling employees to use, on a daily basis and in the framework of their activities, the extensive knowledge and know-how assets acquired by the experts of the Institute over the years.

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Digital and innovation


In a context of the continuous development of digital technologies, their performance and their essential contribution to the fulfilment of its missions, IRSN published its strategy in this regard in January 2021. This strategy is intended to support the development of the Institute in various domains (business needs, interoperability with its major partners, optimising data use, digital communication and information, knowledge management, process digitalisation, digital sobriety, etc.). The objective of the strategy is also to improve the working environment for the Institute’s employees and support them in ramping up their digital skills.


Several projects were conducted in 2021 to structure the management of IRSN data according to the principles of: “FAIR: Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability” and to conduct the first optimisation projects: cataloguing the Institute data, defining the repositories, and setting up an access and analysis platform for the Institute’s data. These projects are accompanied by acculturation and training initiatives for the employees in data science.


Created in order to experiment with new methods for finding solutions to organisational, scientific and technical or societal issues, IRSN Lab continued its actions in 2021 for supporting external and internal projects as diverse as the SISERI platform, the design of ring and Dosiris dosimeters, the editorial strategy of IRSN, the organisation of the crisis centre health cell or of the dispatching unit, and feedback on malfunctions with the quality system. It has also helped teams to specify their needs upstream of or when launching services by means of user-centric methods, and has contributed to the implementation of collective construction on business topics such as the development of R&D roadmaps in the environmental, medical and health fields, and the forecasting of how the expert safety appraisal activity is likely to evolve.

  • 60 projects supported
  • 100 sessions
  • 500 contributors
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Committed and more personalised communication


The communication department refined its editorial line in 2021 in order to make its research and expertise activities still more accessible to every kind of audience.


  • The creation of new digital formats: podcasts enhancing the content of our magazine, Repères, and analysis videos: “4 minutes to understand”. The same objective: getting closer to our public, making technical and scientific topics easier to understand, and making better use of the social networks.
  • The development of digital tools for the general public, such as the “Radon and radioactivity” application. This app makes it possible to estimate an individual’s exposure levels to radioactivity from natural sources in just a few clicks and to calculate the radon potential in their habitat.
  • The embodiment of our scientific communication in researcher portraits, the promotion of the “3 minutes for a thesis” contest and the contents partnership with the magazine “Pour la science” for publishing in-depth articles on IRSN research projects.
  • The active participation of IRSN in the Fête de la Science (Science Festival) organised by the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, combining meetings with young people and thematic exhibitions in several towns and cities.

Internally, a new intranet has been launched: mirroring the transformation of the Institute, and co-constructed with and for the employees, MyIrsn is heavily focused on information and sharing news. The communities created in this intranet enable staff to be organised and brought together around common topics.

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Openness to society


The EUROSAFE forum which took place in Montrouge on 22-23 November 2021 provided the opportunity to promote the openness to society actions developed by IRSN and to engage in exchanges with the members of ETSON on the question, for a TSO, of opening up its expertise and research to society. The discussions were facilitated by the establishment of a discussion space for discussing the various initiatives implemented by IRSN: presentation of the Openness to society charter; developing dialogue with civil society and taking account of society’s concerns, by way of three emblematic approaches: the 4th periodic review of 900 MWe reactors, the storage of HLW/ILW-LL waste, and the OpenRadiation collaborative project for the measurement of ambient radioactivity by the public. These discussions lay the groundwork for the possibility of more in-depth interactions with certain TSOs, such as BelV, BfS and CSN.

The round table organised on the role of society in safety and radiation protection enabled the Director of ANCCLI to give an account of the expectations and contributions of society with respect to this type of technical dialogue. He insisted in particular on the conditions necessary for society to be able to “exercise its role of civic vigilance in order to contribute to safety” and highlighted the importance of setting up places to conduct ongoing dialogue over time.


In the framework of its policy of openness to society, the teams of the Institute regularly meet with those of associations or NGOs in order to better understand their expectations. This was the case in 2021 with France Nature Environnement, Greenpeace and the Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme (Foundation for Nature and Mankind).

At a meeting held on 21 June 2021 between its experts and the Radiation Protection Advisers (RPA) of Greenpeace, the members of this international network of experts and IRSN presented their respective modes of organisation, methods and measurement resources in the event of a crisis. The discussions mainly related to the need for exchanges in order to test these modes of organisation and to the importance of transparency concerning the information available in the event of a crisis.

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IRSN 2021 barometer: the main trends

Based on an Internet survey conducted from 17 to 25 November 2020, the 2021 edition of the IRSN Barometer on how the French population perceives risks and safety, published on 26 May, revealed how French people’s concerns have evolved: at the top is health, at 26%, followed by terrorism (19%) and climate change (15%), while “poverty and exclusion”, the number one concern in the 2020 edition, dropped into fourth place. The highest perceived risk situations are terrorism (76%), cancer (73%), pandemics (71%) and pesticides (70%). Furthermore, floods and droughts are also becoming subjects of major concern.

Concerning nuclear, 53% of the persons surveyed considered that the construction of nuclear power plants has been a good thing, with 18% thinking the opposite. Although the French population as a whole seems to be fairly opposed to pursuing nuclear over the long-term, with 45% of French people opposed to the construction of new nuclear power plants, their stance is split when it comes to the immediate abandonment of nuclear energy. Lastly, the CNRS, ASN and IRSN are perceived, as they were in the previous edition, as the most competent and most credible of the nuclear stakeholders.

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CSR: a vector for transformation

While the deployment of the IRSN CSR policy was manifested in 2020 by the establishment of dedicated governance, with the creation of a “CSR delegation” and a “CSR council” composed of around 50 voluntary employees, and a “CSR Circle” of directors, 2021 was marked by the finalisation of the CSR 2021-2023 roadmap, providing a breakdown in particular of the transformation dynamics in progress. Internally, procedures have been pursued on the circular economy, the social component of CSR, the “Spending responsibly” approach, digital sobriety, biodiversity, and so on.

Externally, IRSN is actively involved in the governmental schemes dedicated to sustainable development: within the framework of the Sustainable development club for public establishments and companies and its new 2021-2025 roadmap, a new “Climate Fresk” (“Fresque du Climat ”) has been organised, along with a visit to the Institute for all the members of the Club. In parallel, an initial summary of the actions of the Institute relating to the topics monitored by the Eco-responsible Public Services (SPE – Services publics écoresponsables) scheme was communicated in July 2020 and included in the global report of the Ministry of Ecological Transition for all its departments and the establishments under its control.

“What was that about CSR?” (“Vous avez dit responsabilité sociale ? ”): a week dedicated the social component of CSR
Area 1: An Institute committed to the protection of everyone

April 2021 saw the first edition of the “Vous avez dit responsabilité sociale ? ” (“What was that about CSR?”) week, with round tables on the topics of disability, returning to work after a long illness, and possible links with local associations.

“Climate Fresk” (“Fresque du Climat ”)
Area 2: A mission and actions to benefit the environment

Launch of a “Climate Fresk” (“Fresque du Climat ”) aimed at employees, for them to take part in or organise the workshop. Based on the observations of the IPCC, this collaborative initiative has already brought together more than 200,000 people worldwide and enabled widespread raising of awareness about the cause-and-effect links contributing to climate change. After a first Fresk, organised for the management committee, several sessions are planned for the employees.

A responsible approach to operating expenses
Area 3: A requirement for excellence and responsibility

The purpose of the “Spending responsibly” approach is to reduce the running costs of the Institute and to focus on sustainable and responsible choices. The actions identified, in particular on the basis of proposals from IRSN employees, in fields as diverse as telephony, work travel, the energy consumption of buildings, and subscriptions to scientific publications, will continue to be deployed until 2023. These include, in 2021, the implementation of a new management policy for promotional objects and cutting down on subscriptions to scientific reviews and publications in favour, in particular, of multi-user digital offerings.

Circular and solidarity economy: first milestones
Area 4: Active involvement in changes to society

An internal survey and workshops were held for identifying the first commitments to be made as part of a circular and solidarity economy approach. Four topics were identified as priorities: sharing and donations, purchases, digital, waste, and end of life cycle. The IRSN “Océane” exchange platform has been expanded to add furniture and office equipment to the exchanges of scientific and technical equipment. A community of practice has also been set up to encourage exchanges between employees. A first donation of large-format transport crates found a taker in response to an advert placed on the dedicated governmental platform.

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  • Almost 5,000 viewings of the home pages for the replays of the round tables of the European week of sustainable development 2021
  • 2 communities of practice: CSR and circular economy
  • 31 % of space freed up on the “U” directory for the use of each employee in the framework of the 2021 digital sobriety and clean-up campaign
  • Around 15 IRSN employees trained in running the Climate Fresks