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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2012, Article ID 686945, 12 pages
Research Article

The European Research on Severe Accidents in Generation-II and -III Nuclear Power Plants

1Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), Cadarache, BP3 13115, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, Cedex, France
2VTT Technical Research Centre, Vuorimiehentie 5, Espoo, Finland
3Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reacktorsicherheit mbH (GRS), Forschungsinstitute, 85748 Garching, Germany
4Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), DEN/STRI/LMA, 13108 Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, Cedex, France
5Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI), Jamova cesta 39, Sl-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
6Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
7Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Università di Pisa, Via Diotisalvi 2, 56126, Pisa, Italy
8European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport (JRC/IET), Westerduinweg 3, P.O. Box 2, 1755 ZG Petten, The Netherlands

Received 23 December 2011; Accepted 10 February 2012

Academic Editor: Gilberto Espinosa-Paredes

Copyright © 2012 Jean-Pierre Van Dorsselaere et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Forty-three organisations from 22 countries network their capacities of research in SARNET (Severe Accident Research NETwork of excellence) to resolve the most important remaining uncertainties and safety issues on severe accidents in existing and future water-cooled nuclear power plants (NPP). After a first project in the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) of the European Commission, the SARNET2 project, coordinated by IRSN, started in April 2009 for 4 years in the FP7 frame. After 2,5 years, some main outcomes of joint research (modelling and experiments) by the network members on the highest priority issues are presented: in-vessel degraded core coolability, molten-corium-concrete-interaction, containment phenomena (water spray, hydrogen combustion…), source term issues (mainly iodine behaviour). The ASTEC integral computer code, jointly developed by IRSN and GRS to predict the NPP SA behaviour, capitalizes in terms of models the knowledge produced in the network: a few validation results are presented. For dissemination of knowledge, an educational 1-week course was organized for young researchers or students in January 2011, and a two-day course is planned mid-2012 for senior staff. Mobility of young researchers or students between the European partners is being promoted. The ERMSAR conference is becoming the major worldwide conference on SA research.