Nuclear safety tests: reactor power transients
Tiret rouge

Preparation and implementation of nuclear safety tests in the CABRI facility.​


The IRESNE teams operate the CABRI research reactor at the CEA Cadarache centre on behalf of the Institute for radiation protection and nuclear safety (IRSN).

CABRI is an experimental pulse facility used to study the behaviour of nuclear fuels subjected to accidental power transients.
The CABRI reactor uses a depressurisation system of helium-3 tubes to provoke rapid reactivity transients that generate power peaks up to 20 GW over precisely controlled periods between 10 to 90 milliseconds.
The behaviour of an experimental fuel rod is monitored by instrumentation during these power transients.

The instrumented fuel rod is positioned in the centre of the test loop, which is itself placed in the centre of the reactor.
The Reactor Studies Department (DER) teams at IRESNE are responsible for operating the CABRI facility. They are also tasked with preparing, operating, analysing and interpreting the test results.

A first test reproducing an accidental control rod ejection in a PWR was successfully completed by the joint IRSN-IRESNE teams on Monday 16 April 2018. This experiment was performed with a new pressurised water test loop. It represents a major milestone of the CABRI international Programme (CIP) dedicated to improving the nuclear safety of reactors.