Abstract

Probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM) is considered to be a promising methodology in structural integrity assessments of pressure-boundary components in nuclear power plants since it can rationally represent the inherent probabilistic distributions for influence parameters without over-conservativeness. To strengthen the applicability of PFM methodology in Japan, Japan Atomic Energy Agency has developed a PFM analysis code PASCAL4 which enables the failure frequency evaluation of reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) considering neutron irradiation embrittlement and thermal transients. PASCAL4 is expected to make a significant contribution to the probabilistic integrity assessment of Japanese RPVs. In this study, PFM analysis for a Japanese model RPV in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) was conducted using PASCAL4, and the effects of nondestructive examination (NDE) and neutron flux reduction on failure frequencies of the RPV were quantitatively evaluated. From the analysis results, it is concluded that PASCAL4 is useful for probabilistic integrity assessments of embrittled RPVs and can enhance the applicability of PFM methodology.

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