We conducted the limit state tests of cylindrical shells to establish criteria for the occurrence of steel wall/liner tearing in the reactor containment vessels (such as Steel Containment Vessels (SCV), Prestressed Concrete Containment Vessels (PCCV) and Reinforced Concrete Containment Vessels (RCCV)) under the limit state pressure. In the tests, precisely manufactured cylindrical shell vessels (about 800 mm in height and 300 mm in diameter) were pressurized to the failure using water. We also conducted the finite element analyses. The conclusions are as follows: 1. We obtained good agreement (within 2–3%) between the tests and the analyses in structural behavior such as internal pressure loading vs. displacement and strain to the failure. However, in the case of the test piece which included weld line on the cylindrical wall, the difference between the tests and the analyses was larger (about 1.5 times) than the rest. 2. The localized strains began to increase when radial strains in general structure reached 5–10%. We are intended to apply these results to the finite element analyses and the integrity evaluation of containment vessels (SCV, PCCV and RCCV).

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