Following the signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, the French government assigned the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to develop a Simulation Program to guarantee the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons. 


At the core of the Simulation Program, the Megajoule Laser (MJLfacilitsituated in the region of Bordeaux (southwest of France) and it is designed to study the behaviour of microscopic target materials under extreme temperature and pressure conditions (similar to nuclear weapons). The MJL building comprises 4 laser halls (each 128m long) sheltering 240 laser beams located at the four ends of the experimental hall. The experimental hall houses the experimental chamber positioned at the lasers’ focal point and consisting of a 350T aluminium sphere covered by a 40cm layer of borated concrete. 




On behalf of the Bouygues Group, setec carried out the construction design of the experimental hall and the North and South buildings, including the finite element calculation models and concrete formwork and reinforcement design (1,150 drawings). 


The six finite element calculation models developed for the experimental hall and the northern and southern buildings comprises over 125,000 nodes, including 92,000 nodes for the sole experimental hall. The project also comprised highly complex openings dedicated to cable ways and HVAC networks. 



Key information

Client : CEA (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique)

Period : Avr. 2003 – Juil. 2008