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NEW CRP: Methodology for Assessing Pipe Failure Rates in Advanced Water Cooled Reactors (I31030)

New Coordinated Research Project

Turbine Floor with New Reheaters and Secondary Side Piping at Unit 2, Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant, 2012. (Photo: Tennessee Valley Authority, USA)

The successful deployment of advanced water cooled reactor (WCR) technologies includes the development of design certification probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) studies that, among others, must also address piping reliability in multiple contexts. Based on five decades of operating experiences in Member States related to pipe failure rates in the current WCR fleet, this CRP will evaluate novel methodologies to predict pipe failure rates in advanced WCRs using common benchmarks. In the absence of operating experience data for advanced WCRs, no agreed technical approach is yet available on how to predict pipe failure rates in advanced WCRs.

The CRP will bring together experts from Member States to evaluate benchmark studies, which will lead to new knowledge and sharing of research results relevant to the prediction of pipe failure rates in newly deployable advanced WCRs. The CRP will start in early 2018 and will be conducted over a period of four years.

CRP Overall Objectives

This CRP will bring together state-of-the-art knowledge on piping degradation and failures in WCRs, and address predictions for pipe failure rates. A new methodology, consistent with required standards and relevant to advanced WCRs, will be proposed. The CRP will provide open access to a strong technical basis for establishing plant piping reliability parameters in support of design certification PSA studies, in-service inspection programme development, and operational support. Although the focus is on statistical models of piping reliability based on operating experience data in the current WCR fleet, other approaches to piping reliability parameter estimation, such as probabilistic fracture mechanics, will also be considered.  

Specific Research Objectives

  1. Propose a new methodology to predict pipe failure rates in advanced WCRs based on the available database repository from over 50 years of operation of the current fleet of WCRs;
  2. Further develop existing piping reliability analysis methodologies to explicitly include those factors influencing assessed pipe failure rates;
  3. Develop recommendations on how to modify an existing set of piping reliability parameters to be applicable to advanced WCRs;
  4. Develop benchmark sets to test the new methodology and recommend the best practice approach;
  5. Develop workshops and training courses for early-career engineers and establish opportunities for PhD theses.

How to join the CRP?

Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement by 15 December 2017 to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the form templates on the CRA pages. For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants can contact the Project Officers, Tatjana Jevremovic and Matthias Krause, from the Nuclear Power Technology Development Section, Division of Nuclear Power, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.

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