The overall aim of the SARNET (Severe Accident Research NETwork), in the EU 6th Framework programme was to integrate in a sustainable manner the research capabilities of fifty-one European organisations from eighteen member states of the European Union (EU) plus the Joint Research Centres, with one Canadian company, to resolve important remaining uncertainties and safety issues concerning existing and future nuclear plant, especially water-cooled reactors, under hypothetical severe accident conditions. It emphasised integrating activities, spreading of excellence (including knowledge transfer) and jointly executed research, with the knowledge gained being encapsulated in the European severe accident modelling code ASTEC. This paper summarises the achievements over the whole project in the Source Term Topic, which dealt with potential radioactive release to the environment, covering release of fission products and structural materials from the core, their transport in the primary circuit, and their behaviour in the containment.
The main technical areas covered, as emphasised by the earlier EURSAFE project, were the effect of oxidative conditions on fission product release and transport (especially the behaviour of the highly radiotoxic ruthenium under air ingress conditions), iodine volatility in the primary circuit, control rod aerosol release (Ag–In–Cd) that affects iodine transport, containment by-pass in the case of steam generator tube rupture, aerosol retention in containment cracks, aerosol remobilisation in the circuit, and iodine/ruthenium behaviour in the containment especially concerning the volatile fraction in the atmosphere. The studies also covered performance of new experiments, analysis of existing data, and formulation and improvement of theoretical models. Significant progress was made in each area. Looking to the future, the 7th Framework successor project SARNET2 covers the remaining issues concerning iodine and ruthenium, including practical application of the results. The results outlined here will make a good basis for this continued endeavour.