This paper describes and explains the contents of bolt and bolted connection design rules included in the present 2012 edition of the French RCC-MRx code (, applicable to nuclear installation components). The aim of this work is to describe the rules and their technical and historical background, owing to the widespread fields of application in a NPP and to the relative complexity of methods; bolted connections have often a major safety-related role.
The domain of the RCC-MRx covers high temperature sodium reactors, experimental nuclear facilities (Jules Horowitz Reactor, research reactor under construction in France), and fusion reactor components (ITER Vacuum Vessel). The first major application is at present for ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration).
The bolt connection usual domain varies in a wide range, from very complex configurations, like high temperature, pressure retaining under cyclic load, to simpler flanges for low temperature piping.
In order to fulfill such different needs in design, several sets of rules are included at present in RCC-MRx code, issued from the historical development of previous RCC-MR and RCC-MX codes, from which the “RCC-MRx” version is derived.
In the following, the existing four configurations of bolted connections are identified, the respective rules are summarized, and, finally, a short comparison with other nuclear codes and industrial standards is provided. Available rules to-date concern respectively:
1) Preloaded bolts assuring leaktightness (type “B1”)
2) Preloaded bolts not assuring leaktightness (“B2”)
3) Non-preloaded bolts (“B3”)
4) Flange bolts