A leak-before-break strategy for CANDU primary piping systems


Recent advances in elastic-plastic fracture mechanics have made it possible to assess the stability of cracks in ductile piping systems. These technological developments have been used by Ontario Hydro as the nucleus of an approach for demonstrating that CANDU primary heat transport piping systems will not break catastrophically; at worst they would leak at a detectable rate. This leak-before-break approach has been taken on the Darlington nuclear generating station as a design stage alternative to the provision of pipe whip restraints on large diameter, primary heat transport system piping. Positive conclusions reached via this approach are considered sufficient to exclude the requirement to provide protective devices, such as pipe whip restraints. In arriving at the proposed leak-before-break approach a review of current and proposed leak-before-break licensing positions of other jurisdictions (particularly those in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany) was carried out. The approach presented makes use of recent American developments in the area of elastic-plastic fracture mechanics. It also gives consideration to aspects which are unique to the pressurized heavy water (CANDU) reactors used by Ontario Hydro. The present paper describes the proposed leak-before-break approach and illustrates its use by applying it to the Darlington generating station primary heat transport system pump suction piping. © 1986.

Publication Title

International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping