A Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) should be performed not only for earthquake and tsunami which are major natural events in Japan, but also for other natural external hazards. However, PRA methodologies for other external hazards and their combination have not been sufficiently developed. This study is intended to develop PRA methodology for a combination of low temperature and snow for a Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) that uses the ambient air as its ultimate heat sink for decay heat removal under accident conditions.

Annual excess probabilities of low temperature and of snow are statistically estimated based on the meteorological records of low temperature, snow depth and daily snowfall depth.

To identify core damage sequence, an event tree was developed by considering the impact of low temperature and snow on decay heat removal systems (DHRSs), e.g., plugged intake and/or outtake for the DHRS and for the emergency diesel generator (EDG), unopenable door on the access routes due to accumulated snow, failure of the intake filters due to accumulated snow, possibility of freezing of the water in cooling circuits. Recovery actions (i.e., snow removal and filter replacement) to prevent loss of DHRS function were also considered in developing the event tree. Furthermore, considering that a dominant contributor to snow risk can be failure of snow removal around the intake and outtake induced by loss of the access routes, this study has investigated effects of electric heaters installed around the intake and outtake as an additional countermeasure.

By using the annual excess probabilities and failure probabilities, the event tree was quantified. The result showed that a dominant core damage sequence is failure of the electric heaters and loss of the access routes for snow removal against the combination hazard at daily snowfall depth of 2 m/day, duration time (snow and low temperature) of 1 day.

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