Published in Nuclear Engineering and Design Vol. 90 (2), pp. 209-222, 1985
An application of the British CEGB's R6 Failure Assessment Approach to the determination of failure internal pressure of nuclear power plant spherical steel containments is presented. The presence of hypothetical cracks both in the base metal and in the welding material of the containment, with geometrical idealizations according to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (Section XI), was taken into account in order to analyze the sensitivity of the failure assessment with the values of the material fracture properties.
Calculations of the elastoplastic collapse load have been performed by means of the Finite Element System SAMCEF. The clean axisymmetric shell (neglecting the influence of nozzles and minor irregularities) and two major penetrations (personnel and emergency locks) have been taken separately into account. Large-strain elastoplastic behaviour of the material was considered in the Code, using lower bounds of true stress—true strain relations obtained by testing a collection of tensile specimens.
Assuming the presence of cracks in non-perturbed regions, the reserve factor for test pressure and the failure internal pressure have been determined as a function of the flaw depth.