CERN Accelerating science


Commissariat à l'énergie 
atomique et aux énergies


The CEA is the French Commission for Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). It is a public body established in October 1945 by General de Gaulle. A leader in research, development and innovation, the CEA mission statement has two main objectives: to become the leading technological research organization in Europe and to ensure that the nuclear deterrent remains effective in the future.

Within CEA, the activities of the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU) cover the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, and particle physics.

IRFU’s activities are focused on five thematic fields of physics: ultimate constituents of matter, energy content of the universe, structure formation in the universe, structure and evolution of celestial bodies, nuclear matter in extreme states.

Four other key topics cover the development of instruments and the transfer of IRFU’s knowledge in the nuclear energy field or other communities:

Innovation for Detector Systems

The activities carried out in this field are about development of detectors, computation and simulation, signal processing and real time systems.

Magnets and Accelerators

These activities cover cryogenic test facilities, new developments for magnet and accelerator instrumentation, particle accelerators and super conducting magnets.

Physics for Nuclear Energy

Basic research in nuclear physics paves the way for new developments in the field of nuclear energy. The teams at IRFU are providing CEA with basic nuclear data; they are also studying the possible transmutation of long-lived nuclear waste, and contributing to projects in nuclear fusion.

Expertise Working for Society

Knowledge and technology developed for basic research prove to be useful in many other fields: dismantling of nuclear installations, development of sophisticated medical imaging tools or climate studies benefit today from the expertise at IRFU.