Durability and safety of concrete structures in the nuclear context
ABSTRACT: In the field of nuclear energy, we are facing very challenging durability problems like: how could we prolong the service life of present nuclear containments and how can we assure the durability of a radioactive storage on the very long term (several centuries)? These difficult questions in a classical civil engineering view are even more complicated in the field of nuclear energy where the structures are massive and the safety of the installations has to be considered with specific care due to the related stakes. For concrete structures like the containment of nuclear power plants and the storages of radioactive waste, these stakes will be clarified with some examples of research concerning the mechanical behavior of concrete and concrete structures (at early age, in service on long scales of time and in the event of an accident), the durability of the concrete structures (leaching, swelling due to DEF) and the couplings between mechanics and durability. Finally, the importance of probabilistic aspects in durability and the inherent difficulties will be shown.