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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



Sarnet: A European Cooperative Effort on LWR Severe Accident Research

European Nuclear Conference 2005, Versailles, 12-15 December 2005

Jean-Claude MICAELLI(1), Tim HASTE(2), Jean-Pierre VAN DORSSELAERE(1), Jean-Michel BONNET(3), Leonhard MEYER(4), David BERAHA(5), Alessandro ANNUNZIATO(6), Bernard CHAUMONT(1), Bernard ADROGUER(1), Raj SEHGAL(7), Klaus TRAMBAUER(5).


49 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. SARNET 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.

In order to preserve the interest of the different organizations, a clear policy in terms of knowledge management, notably regarding access rights, has been defined. Reports on “protected” data will only be distributed to members who, through the activity they offer, increase significantly the value of the data (production of analyses, model development and assessment). In any case, the outcome of these programmes are models implemented in ASTEC and safety assessment methodologies, which will be available for all the SARNET members or other European organizations that would like to use them for safety assessment or improvement of NPPs.

(1) : IRSN
(2) : PSI
(3) : CEA
(4) : FZK
(5) : GRS
(7) : KTH


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