Requirements for pressure-temperature limits to protect against rupture of CANDU nuclear reactor Zr-Nb pressure tubes are provided in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard N285.8. The requirements are based on a stability evaluation of a postulated axial through-wall flaw for all ASME Service Level A, B, C and D loadings. The flaw stability evaluation is strongly dependent on the fracture toughness of the Zr-Nb pressure tube material. The fracture toughness of Zr-Nb pressure tubes is decreasing with operating hours. The decrease in fracture toughness as well as compounding conservatisms based on using bounding values make deterministic evaluations more challenging. The CSA Standard N285.8 permits probabilistic evaluations of fracture protection, but does not provide acceptance criteria. Proposed acceptance criteria that meet the intent of the design basis for Zr-Nb pressure tubes have been developed. The proposed acceptance criteria consist of a proposed maximum allowable conditional probability of pressure tube rupture for the entire reactor core, as well as a proposed maximum allowable conditional probability of rupture of a single pressure tube. The paper provides a description of the technical basis for the proposed acceptance criteria for probabilistic evaluations of fracture protection.

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