Both probabilistic and deterministic methods are used in structural integrity assessment of reactor pressure vessels (RPV) under pressurized thermal shock (PTS) conditions. The deterministic assessment is normally performed using flaw assessment procedures based on linear elastic or elastic-plastic fracture mechanics. Over the past two decades, the probabilistic assessment approach, which is based on probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM), has undergone continuous development, mostly driven by the desire to address some of the weaknesses of the deterministic approach and to facilitate increasing the life and safety of nuclear power plants. In this paper, structural integrity assessments for a selected RPV subjected to a typical PTS transient are performed using the deterministic approach according to different flaw assessment codes. The failure probabilities corresponding to the deterministic facture mechanics method with defined safety factors are evaluated and compared with the failure probability value determined using the PFM method. Several sources of uncertainty that affect the assessment of the structural integrity of an RPV under PTS, including uncertainties in the material property values, the fracture toughness and the flaw size are incorporated in the failure probability evaluation. The response distribution of crack driving force is obtained from the PFM analysis and the failure probability is calculated using Monte Carlo simulation, where the failure criteria used in the deterministic assessment are adopted. The results of analysis from the two approaches are compared and discussed. The results show that the defined safety factor in the deterministic methods does affect the limit failure probability implied by the method. However, there is no unique relationship between safety factor and the limit failure probability.

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