Radiation and environmental monitoring systems for nuclear research

Industrial control systems / Project management Nuclear Switzerland

Context and challenges

This client operates facilities comprising a particle accelerator complex with a 27km-long collider running through underground tunnels. The activity of the machine generates high levels of radiological activity requiring specific surveillance in surface and underground areas, as well as the neighbouring external environment.

A network of monitoring stations on the ground acquires data from equipment (radiation monitors, aerosol or liquid effluent analysis stations, site access control points for vehicles and staff, etc.).

The system manages local alarms, which enables to trigger staff evacuations and stop danger sources. It also helps demonstrate the lack of environmental impact to control authorities. A central SCADA application controls the system in real time and provides access to all archived readings and alarms.

The client called on Assystem to design and install this radiological and environmental monitoring system. This turnkey project involved: a long design and prototyping phase (3+ years), progressive commissioning (5+ years) and a long-term (10+ years) maintenance agreement.

Project scope

  • Integration of over 600 measurement loops (radiological measurement chambers, aerosol samplers, water station, weather data, etc.)
  • Installation of over 200 monitoring stations, based on Siemens PLC (S7) controllers for local HMI (Touch Panels), HMI based on industrial SCADA software (PcVue32 then WinCC OA) with real-time monitoring and database archiving (ORACLE)
  • Data acquisition and short/long-term archiving (10 Hz capacity for fast channels)
  • Development of specific drivers to control heterogeneous equipment in the data acquisition chain
  • Security functional analysis and addressing of security mechanisms according to the requirements of IEC 61 508 (alarms and interlocks)
  • Installation of system components in underground zones, technical tunnels, control rooms and the surrounding environment
  • As the representative of the consortium, Assystem operates in all project phases:
    • Design of overall system architecture and scheduling
    • Non-conformity management and supplier management
    • Organisation of successive waves of deployment on site
    • Definition of overall testing strategy (factory and site)
    • Commissioning and initialisation of maintenance activities
    • Production of documentation and user training


  • Secure acquisition and archiving for safe use of current facilities and assistance in designing future experiments
  • Improved monitoring of environmental impact of testing, via aggregates from various measurement channels (different sensors: water analysers, anemometers, surveillance of site access, etc.)
  • Good coordination of work teams to ensure success of progressive commissioning phase
  • Secured a long-term maintenance contract upon completion of this mission

in figures


radiological measurement loops


environmental and conventional measurement loops


monitoring stations


areas and locations for equipment deployment

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