Fatigue is identified as a significant degradation mode that affects nuclear power plants world-wide. The various international codes and standards (ASME, RCC-M, JSME, etc...) offer rules to predict its damaging effect on the locations of the various components of an NPP. These rules, which ensure conservatism and safe operation, have grown in complexity over the years because they have integrated R&D results showing aggravating effects that were not included in the original analyses (such as Environmental Assisted Fatigue ) but also because an economically viable design of components has required optimization and refinement of mechanical assessment methods.
EDF has been developing since 1989 its own open-source FEA code baptised code ASTER that is included in the Salome Meca mechanical package. Salome Meca is open-access and can be used freely by international users. It is continuously improved with a release at a rate of one new software version per year and it integrates the most recent results obtained by the EDF R&D, in fields as broad as fracture mechanics, XFEM and fatigue.
The fatigue post-processing in code ASTER offers a span of criteria (Dang Van, Stress Intensity, etc...) to pick and choose from and even offers the possibility to make up one owns fatigue criteria. It also offers the possibility to post-process fatigue according to the RCC-M rules (POST_RCCM operator).
Recent developments have enabled to update the POST_RCCM operator to make it bridge the gap with modern fatigue industrial codes as well as to integrate the EAF calculations per the methodology proposed in . The work is currently ongoing within EDF R&D and will give birth to a stabilized and validated version of the code by end of 2016.
This paper presents the updates and the new possibilities of the POST_RCCM operator and gives an update of the work as of early 2016.