CEA: Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives, France


Created in 1945 at the initiative of General de Gaulle and Frédéric Joliot, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a public institution involved in fundamental and technological research. Its current aims are to:

  • improve current performance in the nuclear industry and develop nuclear energy for the future,
  • provide specific solutions for dealing with nuclear waste,
  • gain deeper knowledge of the biological effects of radiation,
  • develop new technologies for alternative forms of energy,
  • make progress in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, microelectronics, nano technology and new materials for industry,
  • conduct fundamental research in physics and chemistry in an international context to support technological developments,
  • use nuclear technology to improve medical imagery techniques, the development of new medical treatments and the understanding of genetics, cells, viruses and prions.

CEA, as an energy expert, is commissioned for the scientific and technical support of the French government related to the short, medium and long term energy policies. It is in charge of maintaining the nuclear option opened for the 2010 horizon. CEA will have three major objectives in the field of nuclear research for the coming years:

  • Providing solutions to the nuclear industry in order to increase its economic competitiveness in the face of growing competition (reducing the cost of the nuclear power kWh at all levels and in total safety; increasing the service life of reactors and improving fuel performance);
  • Responding better to public concerns, by bringing efficient and acceptable technical solutions for radioactive waste management, by deepening our knowledge of the environmental impact of nuclear activities and by improving our understanding of the biological effects, in particular to low exposure;
  • Designing and evaluating new generations of reactor-fuel cycle systems and the key technologies on which they depend, based on the following criteria: reduced investment and economic competitiveness, optimum use of fuel and minimisation of waste (service life, activity, volume), improved safety, increased resistance to proliferation, potential for applications other than electricity (hydrogen production).

This will be achieved notably by strengthening partnership with other research agencies, universities and engineering schools, which will enable CEA to spread its research within international coordinated projects. This policy will result in CEA taking an active role in establishing networks and poles of excellence, especially in Europe within the context of Euratom and Research and Development Framework Programme, and in the construction of the European Research Area.

Key persons in the project:

Frederic Mellier, born in 1961, graduated from the CEA/INSTN in 1986. He started his career participating to neutronics studies for SUPERPHENIX before moving towards activities in support of PHENIX operating and the irradiation program. He was particularly in charge of the development and maintenance of the PHENIX core management tools. He joined the MASURCA facility in 2002 as a responsible of the experimental programs. He coordinated the MUSE-4 program (funded by the European Commission within the framework of the 5th EURATOM/FP) and participated to the set-up GUINEVERE project (6th FP). He was responsible for the task “GUINEVERE core specifications” and actively acted for the practical achievement of the experiments.

Dr. Guy Willermoz, graduated from the University of Lyon, France in 1994 with a Ph. D. thesis (CIFRE) in Applied Mathematics and Core Physics. His degree was obtained in collaboration with AREVA and it dealt with the MOX fuel heterogeneity impact on core behavior. Afterwards, he worked on core loading studies (at the Chinon plant) and Melox gamma-scanning design at the Fuel Division of AREVA. He joined the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in 1995 at the Cadarache centre. After research on LWR core physics modeling, he was appointed project manager of code development for the Jules Horowitz Reactor design (Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulics). He remained in this position until 2003. He was then promoted Deputy Program Manager at Saclay on Neutronics and Thermal-Hydraulic code development and he was Secretary of the NURESIM Project Executive Committee (FP6). At present, he is Project Manager at the Reactor Studies Department of Cadarache where he is working on ADS and transmutation fuel, GEN-IV innovative reactors (MSR, LFR, SCWR) and Industrial Nuclear Process Heat Applications.