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Scoping Analyses of Parameterized Cool-Down Transients Associated With Reactor Shutdown

[+] Author Affiliations
T. L. Dickson

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

M. T. EricksonKirk

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

Paper No. PVP2007-26865, pp. 389-396; 8 pages
  • ASME 2007 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 3: Design and Analysis
  • San Antonio, Texas, USA, July 22–26, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4281-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3804-8


The current regulations, as set forth by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), to insure that light-water nuclear reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) maintain their structural integrity when subjected to planned startup (heat-up) and shutdown (cool-down) transients are specified in Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 50, which incorporates by reference Appendix G to Section XI of the ASME Code. The technical basis for these regulations contains many aspects that are now broadly recognized by the technical community as being unnecessarily conservative. During the past decade, the NRC conducted the interdisciplinary Pressurized Thermal Shock (PTS) Re-evaluation Project that established a technical basis to support a risk-informed revision to current PTS regulations (10CFR Part 50.61). Once the results of the PTS reevaluation are incorporated into a revision of the 10 CFR 50 guidance on PTS, it is anticipated that the regulatory requirements for the fracture toughness of the RPV required to withstand a PTS event (accidental loading) will in some cases be less restrictive than the current requirements of Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 50, which apply to normal operating conditions. This logical inconsistency occurs because the new PTS guidelines will be based on realistic models and inputs whereas existing Appendix G requirements contain known and substantial conservatisms. Consequently, a goal of current NRC research is to derive a technical basis for a risk-informed revision to the current requirements of Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 50 in a manner that is consistent with that used to develop the risk-informed revision to the PTS regulations. Scoping probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM) analyses have been performed for several hundred parameterized cool-down transients to (1) obtain insights regarding the interaction of operating temperature and pressure parameters on the conditional probability of crack initiation and vessel failure and (2) determine the limits on the permissible combinations of operating temperature and pressure within which the reactor may be brought into or out of an operational condition that remains below the acceptance criteria adopted for PTS of 1 × 10−6 failed RPVs per reactor operating year. This paper discusses the modeling assumptions, results, and implications of these scoping analyses.



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