From research to industry
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a key player in research, development and innovation.
Discover the main research areas on which the CEA works.
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The CEA publishes various scientific and technical periodicals and videos. Through them, you can discover the CEA’s major research topics and the latest technological innovations produced by its laboratories.
Media kits | Nuclear energy | Materials | Nuclear reactors
High temperatures, irradiation, mechanical stresses, corrosive environments, etc. The materials used in nuclear power plants are subjected to extreme conditions. Guaranteeing the safety, lifespan and performance levels of current reactors, while designing and qualifying new materials capable of resisting the specific constraints of future nuclear systems, are the main issues investigated at the CEA in the field of nuclear materials. To meet these requirements, researchers have access to a wealth of feedback, skills and unparalleled experimental facilities.
How can we describe materials? They play a vital role in civil nuclear engineering. The safety of nuclear power plants, not to mention their lifespan and their performance depend on materials! Researchers at the Nuclear Energy Division (DEN) in Saclay are able to study, develop and qualify a broad range of materials (metal alloys, composite materials, oxides, etc.) intended for both current and future reactors, thanks to the CEA's unique set of equipment.
Ensuring that the materials used to make the non-moving parts of reactors age correctly and improving the safety and performance of other materials, such as fuel cladding: this is the aim of research conducted by the CEA on second-generation power plants which make up EDF’s current nuclear fleet.
Developing materials for future fast reactors is the other challenge facing the researchers at the CEA, who already have the benefit of feedback. It is a question of designing high-performance materials which are totally reliable and safe, especially those containing fuel or in contact with the sodium coolant. ODS steels appear to be excellent candidates.
How do we guarantee energy independence and secure supplies, while improving safety standards, optimising our management of materials, and minimising waste production? And all this without emitting greenhouse gases? These are the specifications for future nuclear systems defined by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF).
The CEA’s Nuclear Energy Division is developing innovative solutions in the field of nuclear dismantling which are already the subject of industrial transfers.
Though it is a well-defined industrial product that has been duly tested over several decades, nuclear fuel nonetheless remains the focus of numerous innovations.
The CEA developed most processes in use today, and is pursuing research to improve, extend, and adapt the treatment and the recycling of spent fuel to tomorrow’s challenges.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.