To perform the integrity assessment of a reactor pressure vessel (RPV) related to Pressurized Thermal Shock (PTS), we model the RPV using the 3D finite element method (FEM). Accurate prediction of temperature and stress fields is determined by using 2-Phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation in combination with an appropriate finite element discretization of the RPV wall. The cladding and the ferritic low alloy steel are considered as two separated layers, which can be intersected by superficial cracks. The calculation of the stress intensity factor (SIF) in mode I is based on the linear fracture mechanics theory (LEFM) and hypothetical cracks are located in different locations to consider the most critical cases.

In the present study, the sub-modeling technique is implemented to refine the mesh required by the fracture analysis in the region of interest. Three types of cracks are considered: axial, circumferential and inclined. The performed integrity assessment uses the master curve approach. The stress intensity factor in the deepest point of a surface crack was compared with the material’s fracture toughness. In previous studies the integrity of the RPV subjected to medium and small break Loss-of-Coolant Accident (MBLOCA and SBLOCA, respectively) has been evaluated, therefore the concern in this contribution is the large break of Loss-Of-Coolant Accident (LBLOCA). The combination of 3D FEM with CFD simulations allows us to study the influence of the dynamic cooling plume on the stress intensity in more detail than with the conventional one dimensional method.

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