Since April 2004, 49 European organisations network in SARNET (Severe Accident Research and management NETwork) their capacities of research in order to resolve the most important remaining uncertainties and safety issues for enhancing, in regard of Severe Accidents (SA), the safety of existing and future Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). This project has been defined bearing in mind the necessity to optimise the use of the available means and to constitute sustainable research groups.
The SARNET project in one of the projects supported by the EURATOM part of the 6th Frame Work Programme of the European Commission. It tackles the fragmentation that exists between the different R&D national programmes, notably in defining common research programmes and developing common computer tools and methodologies for safety assessment. SARNET comprises most of the actors involved in SA research in Europe.
To reach these objectives, all the organizations networked in SARNET contribute to a so-called Joint Programme of Activities (JPA), which can be broken in several elements:
Implementing an advanced communication tool for fostering exchange of information;
Harmonizing and re-orienting the research programmes, and defining commonly new ones;
Analysing commonly the experimental results provided by research programmes in order to elaborate a common understanding of concerned phenomena;
Developing ASTEC code (integral computer code used to predict the NPP behaviour during a postulated SA), which capitalizes in terms of physical models the knowledge produced within SARNET;
Developing Scientific Databases, in which all the results of research programmes are stored;
Developing a common methodology for Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PSA) of NNPs;
Developing educational courses and text (source) books;
Promoting personnel mobility between the various European organisations.
A few organizations are covering a wide range of competences though not complete, whereas others are specialized in very specific areas and thus complementarities are developing. The critical mass of competence for performing experiments needed in the SA domain, analysing them, developing models and integrating them into ASTEC is achieved for most types of NPPs in Europe.
(1) : Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (IRSN, FRANCE)
(2) : Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI, SUISSE)
(3) : Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA, FRANCE)
(4) : Forschungzentrum Karlsruhe (FZK, GERMANY)
(5) : Gesellschaft Für Anlagen- Und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS , GERMANY)
(6) : EC- Joint Research Center (EC-JRC, ITALY)
(7) : Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, SWEDEN)