Study of corium and severe accidents
Tiret rouge


A platform specialised in studying severe reactor accidents: core meltdown.​​​​

The PLINIUS experimental platform is designed to investigate, characterise and experiment with corium as it interacts with various media, materials and components, within the scope of severe accident studies. Corium is a mixture of molten fuel and metal structural materials that results from the meltdown of a nuclear reactor core. PLINIUS is an environmentally regulated facility (ICPE).
This platform is designed to study the phenomena occurring during a core meltdown accident, and to help experts to better understand corium in order to predict its behaviour during such severe accidents. IRESNE then uses the data collected during the tests to validate the specific calculation codes developed to simulate corium behaviour. The experiments implement prototypical corium, which has similar physical and chemical characteristics but contains no radioactive fission products.
This research platform features some very unique facilities that allow us to study corium flows and its spread, as well as its physical & chemical properties (e.g. surface tension, viscosity) in extremely aggressive environments at over 3000 K, not to mention corium-concrete and corium-water interactions.
Last of all, the platform’s technologies developed for this research on severe accidents can also be used to study corium reflooding, i.e. core coolability using water.

​Activités. © IRESNE/CEA​​


  • Corium,
  • Physical properties,
  • Instrumentation,
  • High-temperature thermal behaviour,
  • Refractory materials,
  • Safety systems.
​Equipements majeurs. © IRESNE/CEA

Major equipment

4 facilities:

  • KROTOS (corium-water interactions),
  • VULCANO (corium spread and corium-concrete interactions),
  • VITI (physical & chemical properties, one-of-a-kind facility worldwide),
  • MERELAVA (corium reflooding).
​​Chiffres clés. © IRESNE/CEA​​

​Key figures

  • 23 staff members,
  • €3 million in investment,
  • 10 R&D projects and 3 patents,
​​Partenaires. © IRESNE/CEA​​


  • EDF,
  • Framatome,
  • ANR,
  • IRSN,
  • JAEA,
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industry,
  • ONET Technologies...​