Appendix M of Section VIII, Division 1 of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code[1] provides rules for the use of isolation (stop) valves between ASME Section VIII Division 1 pressure vessels and their protective pressure relieving device(s). These current rules limit stop valve applications to those that isolate the pressure relief valve for inspection and repair purposes only [M-5(a), M-6], and those systems in which the pressure originates exclusively from an outside source [M-5(b)]. The successful experience of the refining and petrochemical industries in the application and management of full area stop valves between pressure vessels and pressure relief devices suggested that the time was appropriate to review and consider updates to the current Code rules. Such updates would expand the scope of stop valve usage, along with appropriate safeguards to ensure that all pressure vessels are provided with overpressure protection while in operation. This white paper provides a summary of the current Code rules, describes the current practices of the refining and petrochemical industries, and provides an explanation and the technical bases for the Code revisions.

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