Operating conditions specific to pressurizer safety valves (PSVs) have led to numerous problems and have caused industry and NRC concerns regarding the adequacy of spring-loaded self-actuated safety valves for reactor coolant system (RCS) overpressure protection. Specific concerns are: setpoint drift, spurious actuations, and leakage. Based on testing and valve construction analysis of a Crosby model 6M6 PSV (Moisidis and Ratiu, 1992), it was established that the primary contributor to the valve problems is a susceptibility to weak seating. To eliminate spring instability, a new spring washer was designed, which guides the spring and precludes its rotation from the “reference” installed position (Figs. 6 and 7). Results of tests performed on a prototype PSV equipped with the modified upper spring washer has shown significant improvements in valve operability and a consistent setpoint reproducibility to less than ±1 percent of the PSV setpoint (testing of baseline, unmodified valve, resulted in a setpoint drift of ±2 percent). Enhanced valve operability will result in a significant decrease in operating and maintenance costs associated with valve maintenance and testing. In addition, the enhanced setpoint reproducibility will allow the development of a nitrogen to steam correlation for future in-house PSV testing which will result in further reductions in costs associated with valve testing.

Moisidis, N., and Ratiu, M., 1992, “Pressurizer Safety Valve Seating Design Compatibility,” 7th International Conference on Pressure Vessel Technology, Dusseldorf, Germany, Proceedings, Vol. 1, June, pp. 183–197.
Shigley, J. E., and C. R. Mischke, 1989, Mechanical Engineering Design, 5th Edition, McGraw-Hill, pp. 419–420.
Singh, A., and M. D. Bernstein, 1983, “Testing and Analysis of Safety Relief Valve Performance,” Trans. ASME.
Society of Automotive Engineers, 1990, SAE J-795, Manual on Design and Application of Helical and Spiral Springs, Chap. 5, pp. 2.78–2.80.
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