With the development of probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM) methods in recent years, the risk-informed approach has gradually been used to evaluate the structural integrity and reliability of the reactor pressure vessels (RPV) in many countries. For boiling water reactor (BWR) pressure vessels, it has been demonstrated that it is not necessary to perform the inservice inspections of beltline circumferential welds to maintain the required safety margins because their probability of failure is orders of magnitude less than that of beltline vertical welds, thus may well reduce the associated substantial cost and person-rem exposure. In Taiwan, however, the inservice inspections of shell welds still have to be performed every ten years per ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section XI inspection requirements for a BWR type Chinshan nuclear power station. In this work, a very conservative PFM model of FAVOR code consistent with that USNRC used for regulation is built with the plant specific parameters concerning the beltline shell welds of RPVs of Chinshan nuclear power station. Meanwhile, a hypothetical transient of low temperature over-pressure (LTOP) event which challenges the BWR RPV integrity most severely is also assumed as the loading condition for conducting the PFM analyses. Further, the effects of performance of inservice inspection are also studied to determine the benefit of the costly inspection effort. The computed low probability of failure indicates that the analyzed RPVs can provide sufficient reliability even without performing any inservice inspection on the circumferential welds. It also indicates that performing the inservice inspections can not promote the compensating level of safety significantly. Present results can be regarded as the risk incremental factors compared with the safety regulation requirements on RPV degradation and also be helpful for the regulation of BWR plants in Taiwan.

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