Probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM) has been recognized as a promising methodology in structural integrity assessments of aged pressure boundary components of nuclear power plants because it can rationally represent the influencing parameters in their inherent probabilistic distributions without over conservativeness. In Japan, a PFM analysis code PASCAL (PFM Analysis of Structural Components in Aging LWR) has been developed by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to evaluate the through-wall cracking frequencies of Japanese reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) considering neutron irradiation embrittlement and pressurized thermal shock (PTS) transients. In addition, efforts have been made to strengthen the applicability of PASCAL to structural integrity assessments of domestic RPVs against non-ductile fracture.
On the other hand, unlike deterministic analysis codes, the verification of PFM analysis codes is not easy. A series of activities has been performed to verify the applicability of PASCAL. In this study, as a part of the verification activities, a working group was established in Japan, with seven organizations from industry, universities and institutes voluntarily participating as members. Through one year activities, the applicability of PASCAL for structural integrity assessments of domestic RPVs was confirmed with great confidence. This paper presents the details of the verification activities of the working group including the verification plan, approaches and results.