Numark Associates Inc.

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NUMARK Supports US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Reactor Pressure Vessel Integrity Project

September 28, 2017 -- NUMARK Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce its selection by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a three-year technical assistance program in support of NRC research regarding reactor pressure vessel (RPV) integrity.

The project involves knowledge development, verification, validation, documentation, and modernization of the probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM) code FAVOR (Fracture Analysis of Vessels, Oak Ridge); the assessment of current RPV safety issues, including the possible effect of shallow flaws in the RPV cladding on reactor vessel fracture safety; and maintenance, user support, data entry, and possible future enhancements to the public domain database REAP (Radiation Embrittlement Archive Project). The contract period of performance is from September 2017 to August 2020.

The FAVOR code is used by NRC to evaluate issues related to the integrity of RPVs based on knowledge of nuclear power plants and their applied loadings, their materials of construction, and how these materials degrade over time as a result of radiation embrittlement from high energy neutrons.  FAVOR is used to evaluate pressurized thermal shock from plant transients and the potential impact on pressure vessel integrity resulting from stresses applied during normal plant heat-up, cooldown and pressure tests. FAVOR is also used to evaluate applications for extended nuclear plant operations and issues identified from plant inspections and measurements of the capsules removed from RPVs.  As pressure-retaining systems (i.e., piping, vessels) of nuclear power plants age, there is a continuing need to evaluate these systems for their continued operating safety.

REAP, initially developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, consists of a document archive and a relational database.  NUMARK is providing technical assistance to NRC to (1) establish and maintain a web-based interface where the domestic and international nuclear industry (utilities, vendors, and other industry research entities), as well as international regulatory organizations, can access the data and reports in the REAP database; (2) enter new data into the relational database; and (3) develop the ability to analyze the data stored in REAP.

NUMARK, founded in 1991, has provided technical support services to NRC since 2007.  Besides its work for NRC, NUMARK supports public and private sector clients in the US and around the world in the areas of nuclear safety, environmental protection, and sustainable energy strategies.

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