Activities at the Saclay centre have been organised around two key subjects: simulation and materials. The centre's motto: simulation and fundamental sciences for nuclear energy. The nuclear activities on this site employ about one thousand people, including four hundred researchers in various disciplines, e.g. mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics, metallurgy and material sciences.
The CEA provides the French government and industry with technical expertise and innovation in nuclear power generation systems to develop sustainable nuclear energy that is both safe and economically competitive. To meet these objectives, it is engaged in three main areas of investigation:
- developing nuclear systems of the future - dubbed “4th generation” reactors - and their fuel cycles;
- optimising the current nuclear fleet and fuel cycle facilities;
- developing and operating large experimentation and simulation tools.
As nuclear operator, the CEA also has to manage and upgrade its own fleet of nuclear facilities. It carries out numerous construction and refurbishment programmes on its facilities, together with clean-up and dismantling programmes for those that have reached the end of their service life.