A new appendix is introduced in the RSE-M code, devoted to in-service operation on PWRs, dealing with the assessment of a defect in the Reactor Pressure Vessel. This new appendix reflects the current French practice and introduces a second criterion to consider the Warm Pre-Stress (WPS) effect.

This appendix is applicable to under clad defects and defects partially in the cladding, and covers nominal, incidental and accidental conditions. The main criterion is the classical comparison between the stress intensity factor (amplified to account for the plasticity of the cladding) and the material toughness (taking into account the irradiation induced ageing). For incidental and accidental situations, if the conventional criterion is not verified, an alternative criterion is proposed to take into account the WPS effect. The criterion corresponds to the ACE criterion developed by AREVA, CEA and EDF taking into account the effective material toughness depending on the loading history.

The present paper presents this new RSE-M appendix and provides some basic elements of justification and validation on the ACE criterion.

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