The evaluation of the failure pressure of the containment building of a large dry PWR-W three loops nuclear power plant, based on computer numerical simulation, is described in this paper. The proposed method considers fully three-dimensional finite element models in order to take into account the effect of the most significant structural characteristics (presence of three buttresses, penetrations, additional reinforcement around the penetrations, etc.), the lack of symmetry of the forces generated by the prestressing system, as well as the nonlinear behaviour of the materials and the sensitivity of the results to uncertainties associated with several parameters. The computational model is completely described, including the constitutive equations for the concrete, the reinforcing steel and prestressing tendons, the spatial discretization—isoparametric elements including the reinforcement are used. The structural models and the analyses performed for their calibration are also described. The influence on the failure pressure of incorporating the foundation slab in the structural model, and the influence of the thermal effects, are discussed. One of the conclusions of the numerical study is that the failure process can be appropriately simulated by means of a structural model which does not include either the foundation slab or the thermal effects. Finally, results of a probabilistic simulation of the failure pressure are given.

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Published on 01/01/1998

Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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