An Investigation of the Structural Integrity of a Reactor Pressure Vessel using 3D-CFD and FEM Based Probabilistic Pressurized Thermal Shock Analysis for Optimizing Maintenance Strategy

[+] Author and Article Information
Xiaoyong Ruan

Kyoto University Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan

Toshiki Nakasuji

Kyoto University Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan

Kazunori Morishita

Kyoto University Institute of Advanced Energy, Kyoto University Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040698 History: Received July 25, 2017; Revised June 22, 2018


The structural integrity of a reactor pressure vessel (RPV) is important for the safety of a nuclear power plant. When the emergency core cooling system (ECCS) is operated and the coolant water is injected into the RPV due to a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA), the pressurized thermal shock (PTS) loading takes place. With the neutron irradiation, PTS loading may lead a RPV to fracture. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the performance of RPV during PTS loading to keep the reactor safety. In the present study, optimization of RPV maintenance is considered, where two different attempts are made to investigate the RPV integrity during PTS loading by employing the deterministic and probabilistic methodologies. For the deterministic integrity evaluation, 3D-CFD and finite element method (FEM) simulations are performed, and stress intensity factors (SIFs) are obtained as a function of crack position inside the RPV. As to the probabilistic integrity evaluation, on the other hand, a practically more useful spatial distribution of SIF on the RPV is calculated. By comparing the distribution thus obtained with the fracture toughness included as a part of the master curve, the dependence of conditional failure probabilities on the position inside the RPV is obtained. Using the spatial distribution of conditional failure probabilities in RPV, the priority of the inspection and maintenance is finally discussed.

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