L. Mkrtchyan, H. Schau, W. Wolf, W. Holzer, R. Wernicke, R. Trieglaff
April 19, 2013
The reactor pressure vessels (RPV) of boiling water reactors (BWR) belonging to the product line '69 have unusually designed heads. The spherical cap-shaped bottom head of the vessel is welded directly to the support flange of the lower shell course. This unusual construction has led repeatedly to controversial discussions concerning the limits and admissibility of stress intensities arising in the junction of the bottom head to the cylindrical shell. In the present paper, stress analyses for the design conditions are performed with the finite element method in order to determine and categorize the occurring stresses. The procedure of stress classification in accordance with the guidelines of German KTA 3201.2 and Section III of the ASME Code (Subsection NB) is described and subsequently demonstrated by the example of a typical BWR vessel. The accomplished investigations yield allowable stress intensities in the considered area. Additionally, limit load analyses are carried out to verify the obtained results. Complementary studies, performed for a torispherical head, prove that the determined maximum peak stresses in the junction between the bottom head and the cylindrical shell are not unusual also for pressure vessels with regular bottom head constructions.