The underground ANDRA lab of Bure is located at a depth of 500m. It comprises a 450m long loop connecting two access shafts with numerous secondary galleries built for scientific experimentation reasons.


The ANDRA projects an extension of this lab. The changes of the lab associated with this extension require revisiting the existing safety procedures and processes. The extension of the lab will impact its geometry, facilities as well as human resources needs.


Safety is at the top of ANDRA’s priorities. Therefore, ANDRA plans to undertake a full analysis of its safety for the entire geometry of the new lab at different stages of the extension works until their completion. The following factors raise the biggest challenges to this project:

  • An atypical underground infrastructure for which there is no precedent
  • Progressive and evolving commissioning of the works
  • The commissioning of the already completed sections of the galleries while the boring works continue at the front end.
  • The need to mobilise different profiles of expertise such as technical, construction methods, contract management and regulatory


Fire represents on the most feared scenarios. Therefore, new fire scenarios have been modelled with the help of 1D and 3D simulation software in order to stablish the expected evacuation situations and procedures of the lab’s personnel.




The services include the study of the safety dispositions to be set out in terms of facilities or operational procedures for the extension of the lab’s galleries. This study comprises four topics:

  • The safety assessment based on the MADS-MOSAR method in order to determine the worst-case scenarios and the prevention procedures to put in place
  • The analysis of the consequences of the hypothetical increase in the number of resources in the galleries
  • The impact assessment of the application of the underground lab’s work code.
  • The impact assessment of the lab’s changes in the surface facilities


Key information


Client: Agence Nationale pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs (ANDRA) – Underground lab of Bure

Design fees: 167 K€

Duration:  February 2012 – March 2013


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