A Procedure for the Assessment of the Structural Integrity of Nuclear Pressure Vessels

[+] Author and Article Information
J. M. Bloom

Research and Development Division, The Babcock & Wilcox Co., Alliance Research Center, Alliance, Ohio 44601

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 105(1), 28-34 (Feb 01, 1983) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3264235 History: Received April 22, 1982; Revised September 20, 1982; Online November 05, 2009


This paper presents a simple engineering procedure that the utility industry can use to assess the integrity of typical nuclear-grade pressure vessels. The procedure recognizes both brittle fracture and plastic collapse and is based on a set of proposed failure assessment curves which make up a safety/failure plane. The plane is defined by the stress intensity factor/fracture toughness ratio as the ordinate and the applied stress/reference plastic collapse stress ratio as the abscissa. The failure assessment procedure is based in part on the British Central Electricity Generating Board’s R-6 failure assessment diagram and the deformation plasticity solutions of the General Electric Company. Two parameters, a plastic collapse parameter (Sr ′ ) and linear elastic fracture mechanics parameter (Kr ′ ) are calculated by the user. The point (Sr ′ , Kr ′ ) is plotted on the appropriate failure assessment diagram. If the point lies inside the respective curve, the structure is safe from failure. Moreover, for a given pressure and a postulated or actual flaw size, the margin of safety of the structure can be simply determined. Consistent with Appendix A of Section XI, (Division 1) of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code the procedure presented in this paper is limited to ferritic materials 4 in. (102 mm) and greater in thickness. Details of the derivation of the proposed set of failure assessment curves are provided along with a sample problem illustrating the use of these curves.

Copyright © 1983 by ASME
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