Cadarache is a nuclear research center in the relatively small town of Saint -Paul- lès -Durance in the south of France in the department of Bouches -du -Rhone, 60 km north-east of Marseille. It is located on the east bank of the River Durance and includes approximately 450 buildings and employs approximately 5,000 employees.

The center carries out research and development work related to the industrial use of nuclear reactors, uranium and plutonium fuels, and in terms of other possible uses of nuclear energy. Because of the broad range of tasks, the center comprises around 20 different nuclear base systems ( INB - Installation Nucléaire de Base ), including research reactors Cabri, Scarabee, Masurca, Eole, Minerve and Phebus.

Another important facility is the manufacturing facility at Cadarache (CFCA ) with the units ATPU ( "Atelier de technologie du plutonium " ) and LPC ( " Laboratoire de Chimique purification "). In ATPU to 2003 containing plutonium fuel ( MOX fuel ) were prepared for light water reactors. Because of concerns about the seismic safety of commercial operation has now been adjusted and relocated to Melox plant to Marcoule. However, still the American army was processed for testing plutonium. In October 2009, dismantling work on the system by order of the French nuclear safety Behöre had to be stopped because it was unexpectedly pushed to 39 kilograms of plutonium dust in a sealed container. Presumably, the occurrence was discovered in June and has now been classified as a Category 2 incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale evaluation.

On 28 June 2005, the ITER Council for Cadarache has chosen as the site of the nuclear fusion reactor ITER.


Type Fast Breeder

  • Rapsodie ( réacteur rapidly à Sodium Experimental ) ( 1967-1981 )
  • Phenix (1974-2010) (250 MW) (not on the premises )
  • Superphénix (1985-1997) (1200 MW) (not on the premises )

The prototypes of these breeder reactors, the operation (inspection and repair) was explored by liquid metal reactors operated. Here are various metals and compounds are used, including sodium, lead or lead - lithium, lead - bismuth or sodium - potassium.

Phenix was the predecessor of Superphénix; after a series of mishaps in the Superphénix the expensive project, however, was terminated.

Type fusion reactor

Currently under construction is the ITER, an international project to build a fusion reactor.

Already in operation of Tore Supra. This is a tokamak with superconducting magnets, such as those provided for the ITER. The torus has a radius of 2.40 m and an inner radius of 72 cm.

Type of nuclear fission reactor

  • Eole Reactor (swimming pool design): Here be carried out tests for the core design of light water reactors.
  • Minerve Research Reactor: In this reactor, the physical and chemical properties of the nuclear fuel rods is examined.
  • MASURCA Research Reactor ( maquette SURgénérateur de Cadarache ): With this reactor, the behavior of fast neutrons is investigated long-term goal is the study of transmutation of long-lived radionuclides.
  • Cabri Research Reactor (swimming pool design): This reactor is used for testing of design and durability of fuel rods.
  • Phebus Research Reactor: In order the behavior of the reactor during meltdown is examined. Phebus refers to both a project and the nuclear research reactor for the study of nuclear fusion. First test of a controlled meltdown took place on 3 December 1993.
  • New Generation Reactor: Here is a reactor for research into fuel rods for reactors in ships ( aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle) and submarines. It is used in addition to the training of crews.

Decommissioned Reactors

  • SCARABEE: He was with the CABRI reactor part of the project SURA. Within the project, accident studies were created. The reactor was shut down in 2002.
  • HARMONY: This was a primarily operated for the military material test reactor. Its thermal power was about 1 kW, as fuel highly enriched U235 was used. He was shut down in 1965 for the first time critical and finally in December 1997.
  • Pegase - CASCAD: This experimental reactor was in operation from 1963 to 1975 and was shut down due to safety deficiencies. By 2006, there radioactive waste were stored, this approval has now been lifted.
  • PEGGY (1961-1975): The gas-cooled reactor has since been dismantled.
  • MARIUS (1960-1983): This reactor with 0.4 kW thermal output has now been dismantled.
  • CAESAR (1964-1974): The reactor has since been dismantled.

Other equipment

  • ATPU (Atelier de Technologie du Plutonium ) served the MOX fuel assembly production mainly for German power plants. Production stopped in 2003.
  • Cedra is a facility for treatment and storage of radioactive waste.
  • IRCA ( IRradiateur de Cadarache ) is used for radiation monitoring in Caderache.
  • LDAC ( Laboratoire de Découpe of Assemblages Combustibles ) is a system for cutting of fuel.
  • LECA serves as a testing laboratory for radioactive waste.
  • LEFCA is a laboratory for the production of new advanced nuclear fuels.
  • LPC ( Laboratoire de Purification Chimique )
  • MCMF ( Magasin Central des Matières Fissiles ) is a camp for fissile material.
  • PARC ( Parc d' entreposage et de décroissance de déchets radioactifs ) serves as a repository for radioactive waste.
  • STED ( Station de Traitement et Déchets of effluents ) is used for treating radioactive waste.

In construction

On 19 March 2007, the foundation stone for the Jules Horowitz Reactor ( JHR ) was laid. The reactor of the third generation will be built along with eight other European countries in 2014 and begin operation. He intended to make 100 MW and is intended for material testing. The cost of the project is estimated at € 500 million and are distributed as follows:

  • Commissariat à l' énergie Atomique et aux énergies alternative (50%)
  • Electricité de France (20%)
  • EU research institutions (20%)
  • Areva (10%)