the law establishing the merger of ASN and IRSN has been promulgated

This reform, criticized by numerous experts and associations, was the subject of an intense battle in Parliament.



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The Bugey nuclear power plant, in Saint-Vulbas, in Ain, May 25, 2023. (ROMAIN DOUCELIN / SIPA)

Hotly contested for more than a year, the law merging the nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), with the sector’s technical expert, the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), was promulgated on Tuesday, according to an article published Wednesday, May 22 in the Official Journal. Adopted in Parliament, this reform provides for the creation in January 2025 of a Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (ASNR), resulting from the merger of the ASN and the IRSN.

The promulgation by the President of the Republic comes after the Constitutional Council on Friday rejected a final appeal brought by left-wing and independent parliamentarians from the Liot group, the epilogue of an intense parliamentary battle. The reform, initiated in February 2023, has been criticized from all sides, notably by numerous experts and associations.

This “law of May 21, 2024 relating to the organization of nuclear safety governance to meet the challenge of relaunching the nuclear industry” aims to adapt this governance to France’s new nuclear ambitions. The executive wants to build new reactors (notably six second generation EPRs) and wishes “fluidify” decisions in this direction, explained the government.

The law leaves it to the future internal regulations of the ASNR to precisely organize the rapprochement of the two organizations, born in the early 2000s. The text provides that“before July 1, 2024, the government remits[te] a detailed report to Parliament” with the stakeholders concerned “on the necessary human, technical and financial forecasting resources” to the ASNR and the CEA (Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission) in 2025. And “no later than July 1, 2025”the ASNR will have to evaluate its needs within five years.

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