In recent years, many NPPs have developed and implemented severe accident management guidelines (SAMG). It is the primary objective of developing SAMG to prevent or mitigate the consequences of severe accidents by keeping the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) integrity and reducing the load to the containment. In a hypothetical Station Blackout accident all active safety systems are unavailable. Without additional measures this would lead to heating-up of the reactor core with severe core degradation. To avoid or to limit the consequences of a possible core heat up, different accident management strategies can be applied. This paper presents an assessment of early-phase accident management actions for VVER-1000 reactors. In particular Primary Side Depressurization (PSD) is investigated as a basic strategy for managing severe accidents under high pressure conditions. In addition, Secondary Side Depressurization (SSD) is also being investigated. It aims at fast reduction of the secondary pressure and feeding the steam generators’ secondary side with water from the feed water tank or from a different source. In that way, the heat removal from the primary to the secondary side can be significantly enhanced and the core heat-up at high pressure can be delayed. A number of simulations with different criteria for actuation of the PSD procedure and additional SSD were performed using the thermal-hydraulic system code ATHLET. This paper provides a detailed modelling of the reactor coolant system and the required safety systems, analysis of the thermal-hydraulic and safety parameters and description of the physical phenomena. Special attention is given to the possibilities of preventing or at least delaying an extended core heat-up depending on the availability of the operational and safety systems. The effectiveness of the applied accident management measures and the effect on the accident progression were studied in order to assess the maximum response time for operators’ intervention.

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