Nuclear Technology / Volume 165 / Number 3 / March 2009 / Pages 293-307
Technical Paper / Reactor Safety
For several years the French Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) and the German Gesellschaft für Anlagen und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) mbH have been jointly developing a system of calculation codes - the integral Accident Source Term Evaluation Code (ASTEC) - to simulate the complete scenario of a hypothetical severe accident in a nuclear light water reactor, from the initial event until the possible radiological release of fission products out of the containment, i.e., the source term. ASTEC has progressively reached a larger European dimension through projects of the European Commission Framework Programme. In particular, in the frame of the European Severe Accident Research NETwork of Excellence (SARNET), jointly executed research activities were performed with the ultimate objectives of providing physical models for integration into ASTEC and making the code the European reference. This effort will go on in the frame of the SARNET2 next network. The ASTEC models are today at the state of the art, except for reflooding of a degraded core. Many applications have been performed by IRSN for significant safety studies, including the probabilistic safety analysis level 2 on a French pressurized water reactor. The first version V2.0 of the new ASTEC series, released in spring 2009, will allow simulation of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) and will include advanced core degradation models. Then, ASTEC will remain the repository of knowledge gained from international research and development. Other long-term objectives are on one hand extension of the scope of application to boiling water reactors and CANada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors, to accidents in the ITER Fusion facility, and to Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) Generation IV reactors, and on the other hand to the use for emergency response tools and for severe accident simulators.