The subject of this paper is to compare the results of the different calculations performed by the benchmark participants in the framework of the OECD Lower Head Failure (OLHF) program. The benchmark consists in the finite element (FE) calculation or in analytical calculations of the mechanical behavior of the OLHF-1 experiment. Seven participants from six countries and seven companies or organizations (AVN, VTT, GRS, UJV, SNL, IPSN and CEA) have performed the benchmark.
The OLHF experiment program extends the NRC-sponsored SNL LHF program (NUREG/CR-5582) completed in 1998: these experiments where intended to simulate the thermal/mechanical loads to a 1/4.85-scale model of a reactor pressure vessel.
The pressure vessel material (SA533B1 steel) used in these experiments is prototypic of reactor PWR vessel material and has been well characterized by material property testing as part of this program. The OLHF tests advance the results of the previous testing program by examining the effects of large temperature differences across the vessel wall. Large temperature differences in excess of 150–400 K are more prototypic of accident conditions.
Most of the participants performed 2-D axisymmetric analyses and doesn’t study the crack opening. The global mechanical behaviour of OLHF-1 experiment is well represented but prediction of the maximum vertical displacement is not in good agreement with the experimental value. Failure time and location are in quite good agreement with experimental results but large discrepancies are observed on the mode of failure: creep or plasticity. To improve predictions, more investigation and work is needed on the choice of the failure criteria and failure mode.
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This work has been done with the CEA, the OECD-NEA, the AVN (Belgium), GRS (Germany), SNL (USA), UJV (Czech Republic), VTT Energy (Finland).