The development of nuclear energy has been characterized by a continuous evolution of the technological and philosophical underpinnings of reactor safety to enable operation of the plant without causing harm to either the plant operators or the public. Currently, the safety of a nuclear plant is assured through the combined use of procedures and engineered safety features together with a system of multiple protective barriers against the release of radioactivity. This approach is embodied in the concept of Design-Basis Accidents (DBA), which requires the designers to demonstrate that all credible accidents have been identified and that all safety equipment and procedures perform their functions extremely reliably. Particularly important functions are the automatic protection to shut the reactor down and to remove the decay heat while ensuring the integrity of the containment structure. Within the DBA concept, the so-called severe accidents were conveniently defined to be those accidents that lie beyond the DBA envelope; hence, they did not form part of the safety case. (author).