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Mesh conversion tools


Andra, France's National Radioactvive Waste Management Agency, runs feasibility study programs concerning High Activity Long Life storage of radioactive waste in deep underground clay formations.

These studies:

  • Determine the space and time characteristics of the storage area and the geological environment
  • Analyze the behavior of the storage area and the disruptions it may case
  • Quantify the storage area's environmental impact concerning radiation

The behavior must be analyzed over time periods and areas which cannot be tested directly. Therefore Andra uses intensive modeling and digital simulation techniques involving a large number of different simulations.


© Andra


Andra wanted to use a single mesh with several different programs. The agency realized it is faster and easier to build the mesh once and for all and to convert it into the formats recognized by each program, using appropriate tools.
Andra developed or outsourced the development of several conversion tools as the company acquired the digital codes. Several programming languages were used, including shell, Fortran, and Scilab.
This large number of languages makes software maintenance difficult. Therefore Codra was chosen to redevelop the various tools in Python. (One module for reading and writing data was written in C, for performance reasons.)
We used extensive code sharing among the programs in order standardize the tools' operating modes. This will also simplify future development and maintenance.

Several precautions were applied because of the critical nature of the software. Codra teams:

  • Reverse-specified and reverse-engineered all the tools
  • Carried out unitary tests on all the tools' functions using PyUnit
  • Used the tool to check that the test coverage ratio was indeed 100%
  • Used the Pylint tool to check programming standards—the minimum rating had to be higher than 8

We used numPy when porting the software in order to process arrays.