The strategy of approach to the problem moves from the consideration that a passive system should be theoretically more reliable than an active one. In fact it does not need any external input or energy to operate and it relies only upon natural physical laws (e.g. gravity, natural circulation, internally stored energy, etc.) and/or “intelligent” use of the energy inherently available in the system (e.g. chemical reaction, decay heat, etc.). Nevertheless the passive system may fail its mission not only as a consequence of classical mechanical failure of components, but also for deviation from the expected behaviour, due to physical phenomena mainly related to thermalhydraulics or due to different boundary and initial conditions. The main sources of physical failure are identified and a probability of occurrence is assigned. The reliability analysis is performed on a passive system which operates in two-phase, natural circulation. The selected system is a loop including a heat source and a heat sink where the condensation occurs. The system behavior under different configurations has been simulated via best-estimate code (Relap5 mod3.2). The results are shown and can be treated in such a way to give qualitative and quantitative information on the system reliability. Main routes of development of the methodology are also depicted.

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