Spent fuels are transferred from a reactor core to a spent fuel pool through an external vessel storage tank (EVST) filled with sodium in sodium-cooled fast reactors in Japan. This paper describes identification of dominant accident sequences leading to fuel failure by conducting probabilistic risk assessment for EVST designed for a next sodium-cooled fast reactor plant system in Japan to improve the EVST design. Based on the design information, this study has carried out identification of initiating events, event and fault tree analyses, human error probability analysis, and quantification of accident sequences. Fuel damage frequency of the EVST was evaluated approx. 10−6 /year in this paper. By considering the secondary sodium freezing, the fuel damage frequency was twice increased. The dominant accident sequence resulted from the common cause failure of the damper opening and/or the human error for the switching from the stand-by to the operation mode in the three stand-by cooling circuits. The second dominant accident sequence following the secondary pump trip is sodium freezing caused by the failure of air blower trip in the air cooler due to the common cause failures of secondary sodium flowmeter failure or erroneous opening of the air cooler damper. The Fussell-Vesely importance and risk achievement worth analyses have indicated high risk contributions.

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