The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 2011 is a strong reminder that while nuclear power can be a useful energy source, a nuclear power plant disaster can have devastating consequences. In fact, Japan is still recovering from the Fukushima incident.
The accident has served as a strong reminder that constant vigilance is required for nuclear safety. Europe has been monitoring safety through the Severe Accident Research Network of Excellence, or SARNET. SARNET has worked to disseminate information about severe accidents (SA), and share and coordinate data and resources.
For many years, Europe has used integral computer codes developed in the US for to run safety assessments. This has made Europe very dependent on US technology. This code can be applied to the accident operation of any kind of water-cooled nuclear power plant and simulates an entire SA sequence in a nuclear water-cooled reactor.
The follow-up to the SARNET project, SARNET2, dealt with a selection of the highest-priority unresolved issues and uncertainties over how to enhance the safety of existing and future water-cooled nuclear power plants.
SARNET2 will have lasting impact on European nuclear safety organizations and the European nuclear industry. Key deliverables include ASTEC, safety methodologies and recommendations from state-of-the-art reports can now be used not only for R&D activities, but also for a variety of industrial applications.