The objective of the LACOMECO project is to offer EU research institutions access to four experimental facilities QUENCH, LIVE, DISCO and HYKA which are designed to study the remaining severe accident safety issues, ranked with high or medium priority by the SARP group for SARNET. These issues are coolability of a degraded core, corium coolability in the RPV, possible melt dispersion to the reactor cavity, and hydrogen mixing and combustion in the containment.
These facilities are unique in providing experimental programmes in specific fields of core damage initiation up to hydrogen behaviour, without rival in other Member States. The experiments are designed to be complementary to other European facilities and experimental platforms to form a coherent European nuclear experimental network. The project will bring together competent teams from different countries with complementary knowledge. Moreover, the links with the East European research organisations and utilities will be established and maintained. Therefore, the project will offer a unique opportunity to join networks and activities supporting VVER safety, and for Eastern experts to get access to large scale experimental facilities in a Western research organisation. They will thereby improve their understanding of material properties, core behaviour, and containment safety under severe accident conditions. These topics addressed are extremely complex and demand the specific research involving substantial resources; the research field is too wide to allow the study of all the phenomena by any national programme.
To optimise the use of the resources, the collaboration between different EU institutions at both national and international levels is highly important. This is precisely the main objective of the LACOMECO project, which aims to provide these resources and to facilitate this collaboration by offering unique severe accident research facilities at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for transnational access.