The process used by the French utility, concerning the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) integrity assessment, applied on 34 PWR NPPs 3-loop Reactors, involved the verification of the integrity of the component under the most severe conditions of situation, was engaged several years ago and the result obtained was the justification of the 900 MWe RPV life management for at least 40 years and to prepare the projection for beyond 40 years. Since 2000, in the continuity of this results, the studies was carried out on the 20 PWR NPPs 4-loop 1300 MWe Reactor Pressure Vessels, and the recent results obtained shows the demonstration of the integrity of the RPV, in the most severe conditions of loading in relation with RTNDT (Reference Nil Ductility Transition Temperature), and considering major parameters particularly the severity of the transient. This approach, is based on specific mechanical safety studies on the 1300 MWe RPV, to demonstrate the absence of risk of failure by brittle fracture. For these mechanical studies the major input data are necessary: 1 - the fluence distribution and the values of 4-loop RPV RTNDT during the lifetime in operation, 2 - the temperature distribution values in the downcomer and the PTS evaluation. The main results must show significant margins against initiation of the brittle fracture. The flaws considered in this approach are shallow flaws beneath the cladding (subclad flaws) or in the first layer of cladding. The major tasks and expertises engaged by EDF are: • better knowledge of the vessel material properties, including the effect of radiation, • more precise assessment of the fluence and neutronic calculations, • the NDE inspection program based on the inspection of the vessel wall, with a special NDE tool. The principal actions conducted during recent years are: • the optimisation of the fuel management and the new development for the fluence evaluation, • the data gathered from radiation specimen capsules, removed from the vessels (4loop reactor), within the framework of the radiation surveillance program, and the thermal-hydraulic-mechanical calculations based on finite element thermal-hydraulic computations and three dimensional elastic-plastic mechanical analyses.

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