The nuclear safety approach has to cover accident sequences involving core degradation in order to develop reliable mitigation strategies for both existing and future reactors. In particular, the long-term stabilization of the degraded core materials and their coolability has to be ensured after a severe accident. This paper focuses on severe accident phenomena in Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) compared to those potentially occurring in future GenIV-type Sodium Fast Reactors (SFR). Firstly, the two considered reactor concepts are introduced by focusing on safety aspects. The severe accident scenarios leading to core melting are presented and the initiating events are highlighted. The paper focuses on in-vessel severe accident phenomena, including the chronology of core damage, major changes in the core configuration and molten core progression. Regarding the mitigation means, the in-vessel retention phenomena and the core catcher characteristics are reviewed for these different nuclear generation concepts (II, III and IV). A comparison between the PWR and SFR severe accident evolution is provided as well as the relation between governing physical parameters and the adopted mitigation provisions for each reactor concept. Finally, it is highlighted how the robustness of the safety demonstration is established by means of a combined probabilistic and deterministic approach.