Integral light-water reactor designs propose the use of steam generators located within the reactor vessel. Steam generator tubes in these designs must withstand external pressure loadings to prevent buckling, which is affected by material strength, fabrication techniques, chemical environment and tube geometry. Experience with fired tube boilers has shown that buckling in boiler tubes is greatly alleviated by controlling ovality in bends when the tubes are fabricated. Light water reactor steam generator pressures will not cause a buckling problem in steam generators with reasonable fabrication limits on tube ovality and wall thinning. Utilizing existing Code rules, there is a significant design margin, even for the maximum differential pressure case. With reasonable bend design and fabrication limits the helical steam generator thermodynamic advantages can be realized without a buckling concern. This paper describes a theoretical methodology for determining allowable external pressure for steam generator tubes subject to tube ovality based on ASME Section III Code Case N-759-2 rules. A parametric study of the results of this methodology applied to an elliptical cross section with varying wall thicknesses, tube diameters, and ovality values is also presented.

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