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FAST Nuclear Emergency Tools (FASTNET)

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - FASTNET (FAST Nuclear Emergency Tools (FASTNET))

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-09-30

The FASTNET project, coordinated by IRSN (France), started in October 2015 and is scheduled to run for four years. It involves a Consortium of 20 partners from 18 countries (including North-America, Canada and Russian Federation) as well as the IAEA as a third party.
When dealing with nuclear emergency, two issues of very different timeframes and operational objectives, thus including the use of different methods and tools, have to be considered: the emergency preparedness and the emergency response. The FASTNET project addresses both of these issues by combining the efforts of several organizations to make substantial progress on already identified reference tools and method. In particular, the capabilities of these method and tools will be extended to tackle the main categories of accident scenarios in the main types of operating or foreseen water-cooled NPPs in Europe, including a generic concept of Spent Fuel Pools.

A first task concerns the identification of scenario categories, a methodology proposition for their description and the development of a scenarios database. Building this database will constitute a first important step in the harmonization goal defined in the project. Promising probabilistic approaches based on Bayesian Belief Networks are currently developed to complement the operational deterministic methodologies and tools used to diagnose accidental situations. Both the probabilistic and deterministic approaches will be assessed against the above mentioned database of scenarios. Finally, a comprehensive set of emergency exercises will be developed and proposed to a large set of partners. A first series of exercises will address source term evaluations, to be compared to the reference source terms from the scenario database. A second series of exercises will then focus on the main emergency objective of protecting the population. Progress made on the method and tools developed within the project will be assessed by comparing the results obtained in both series of exercises.
Current expertise methodology (3D3P method) as well as tools to assess source terms used in France (PERSAN) and in Sweden (RASTEP) were extended to these 5 European NPPs designs. The extension of these method and tools was improved and validated through a training session which was organized in May 2018 in Paris and gathered 38 participants from 22 European or non-Europeans countries. The project partners also worked on the inclusion of functionalities to produce or integrate atmospheric releases data in a standard format (IRIX) in order to link them with other initiatives focused on atmospheric transport, radiological consequence assessments and data assimilation.

In addition, an accident scenarios database was developed and contains more than one hundred description of scenarios including assessment of atmospheric releases performed by partners using reference codes (ASTEC, MELCOR and MAAP) for the 5 European NPPs and a generic concept of SFP.

At the end of the project, a comprehensive set of emergency exercises was developed and proposed to a large set of partners in order to demonstrate the operational capabilities of the FASTNET method and tools for emergency response. This demonstration was achieved through two distinct exercise activities:
(i) A first exercise addressed source term evaluations, to be compared to the reference source terms from the scenario database. It was held in December 2018, 23 participating organizations were registered (18 using PERSAN, 19 using RASTEP and 13 using both);
(ii) A second exercise focused on the main emergency objective of protecting the population. It was organized on February 22, 2019 in Vienna, 17 participating organizations were registered (5 using PERSAN, 9 using RASTEP and 3 using both).

These FASTNET method and tools will enable Emergency Centres to provide a fast, organized and reliable prediction of accident development and the anticipation of the atmospheric releases in order to better protect the population around most of European NPPs.

The high ambition of this large project was met through the organization of numerous meetings, workshops, trainings and exercises, to enhance the interaction between experts from the areas of severe accident management and of emergency management. All these occasions gave them the opportunity to develop a common language and facilitate their appropriation of the FASTNET tools and method. The implementation of the two exercises added an enormous value of the project.
This ambitious project made a progress in a number of current needs:

- In facilitating the networking of 2 communities at European level and beyond;

- In developing the bases for a common language, a guarantee of a better understanding between Emergency Centers during a crisis;

- In giving the opportunity to develop both deterministic and probabilistic approaches, in a coordinated and joint way;

- In capitalizing an almost complete “toolbox” associated to a common graduated methodology, robust and efficient, in order to be implemented in any Emergency Centers for the management of emergency for the management of emergency based on:
- The dissemination of a severe accident scenarios database version 1.0 including a uniform description of scenarios,
- The extension of 2 fast tools, deterministic or probabilistic, to assess atmospheric releases,
- The sharing of a common expertise methodology, based on the 3D3P method, focusing on the status of the installation, now and then;

- In implementing 2 series of exercises, gathering experts around realistic situations to test their approach, their practice and the advice they could provide to a decision maker in case of an emergency situation.