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Considerations for Probabilistic Analyses to Assess Potential Changes to Large-Break LOCA Definition for ECCS Requirements

[+] Author Affiliations
G. Wilkowski, D. Rudland, R. Wolterman, P. Krishnaswamy

Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus, Columbus, OH

P. Scott

Battelle, Columbus, OH

S. Rahman

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

C. Fairbanks

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD

Paper No. ICONE10-22659, pp. 575-582; 8 pages
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 4
  • Arlington, Virginia, USA, April 14–18, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3598-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3589-8
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


The U.S.NRC has undertaken a study to explore changes to the body of Part 50 of the U.S. Federal Code of Regulations, to incorporate risk-informed attributes. One of the regulations selected for this study is 10 CFR 50.46, “Acceptance Criteria for Emergency Core Cooling Systems for Light-Water Nuclear Power Reactors”. These changes will potentially enhance safety and reduce unnecessary burden on utilities. Specific attention is being paid to redefining the maximum pipe break size for LB-LOCA by determining the spectrum of pipe diameter (or equivalent opening area) versus failure probabilities. In this regard, it is necessary to ensure that all contributors to probabilistic failures are accounted for when redefining ECCS requirements. This paper describes initial efforts being conducted for the U.S.NRC on redefining the LB-LOCA requirements. Consideration of the major contributors to probabilistic failure, and deterministic aspects for modeling them, are being addressed. At this time three major contributors to probabilistic failures are being considered. These include: (1) Analyses of the failure probability from cracking mechanisms that could involve rupture or large opening areas from either through-wall or surface flaws, whether the pipe system was approved for leak-before-break (LBB) or not. (2) Future degradation mechanisms, such as recent occurrence of PWSCC in PWR piping need to be included. This degradation mechanism was not recognized as being an issue when LBB was approved for many plants or when the initial risk-informed inspection plans were developed. (3) Other indirect causes of loss of pressure-boundary integrity than from cracks in the pipe system also should be included. The failure probability from probabilistic fracture mechanics will not account for these other indirect causes that could result in a large opening in the pressure boundary: i.e., failure of bolts on a steam generator manway, flanges, and valves; outside force damage from the containment building main crane dropping a heavy load on the pipe system when the reactor is in operation; gasket or seal failure; etc. All three major contributors to probabilistic failure need to be considered for redefinition of the LB-LOCA requirements.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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