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§ 50.44 Combustible gas control for nuclear power reactors.

(a) Definitions.

(1) Inerted atmosphere means a containment atmosphere with less than 4 percent oxygen by volume.

(2) Mixed atmosphere means that the concentration of combustible gases in any part of the containment is below a level that supports combustion or detonation that could cause loss of containment integrity.

(b) Requirements for currently-licensed reactors. Each boiling or pressurized water nuclear power reactor with an operating license on October 16, 2003, except for those facilities for which the certifications required under § 50.82(a)(1) have been submitted, must comply with the following requirements, as applicable:

(1) Mixed atmosphere. All containments must have a capability for ensuring a mixed atmosphere.

(2) Combustible gas control. (i) All boiling water reactors with Mark I or Mark II type containments must have an inerted atmosphere.

(ii) All boiling water reactors with Mark III type containments and all pressurized water reactors with ice condenser containments must have the capability for controlling combustible gas generated from a metal-water reaction involving 75 percent of the fuel cladding surrounding the active fuel region (excluding the cladding surrounding the plenum volume) so that there is no loss of containment structural integrity.

(3) Equipment Survivability. All boiling water reactors with Mark III containments and all pressurized water reactors with ice condenser containments that do not rely upon an inerted atmosphere inside containment to control combustible gases must be able to establish and maintain safe shutdown and containment structural integrity with systems and components capable of performing their functions during and after exposure to the environmental conditions created by the burning of hydrogen. Environmental conditions caused by local detonations of hydrogen must also be included, unless such detonations can be shown unlikely to occur. The amount of hydrogen to be considered must be equivalent to that generated from a metal-water reaction involving 75 percent of the fuel cladding surrounding the active fuel region (excluding the cladding surrounding the plenum volume).

(4) Monitoring. (i) Equipment must be provided for monitoring oxygen in containments that use an inerted atmosphere for combustible gas control. Equipment for monitoring oxygen must be functional, reliable, and capable of continuously measuring the concentration of oxygen in the containment atmosphere following a significant beyond design-basis accident for combustible gas control and accident management, including emergency planning.

(ii) Equipment must be provided for monitoring hydrogen in the containment. Equipment for monitoring hydrogen must be functional, reliable, and capable of continuously measuring the concentration of hydrogen in the containment atmosphere following a significant beyond design-basis accident for accident management, including emergency planning.

(5) Analyses. Each holder of an operating license for a boiling water reactor with a Mark III type of containment or for a pressurized water reactor with an ice condenser type of containment, shall perform an analysis that:

(i) Provides an evaluation of the consequences of large amounts of hydrogen generated after the start of an accident (hydrogen resulting from the metal-water reaction of up to and including 75 percent of the fuel cladding surrounding the active fuel region, excluding the cladding surrounding the plenum volume) and include consideration of hydrogen control measures as appropriate;

(ii) Includes the period of recovery from the degraded condition;

(iii) Uses accident scenarios that are accepted by the NRC staff. These scenarios must be accompanied by sufficient supporting justification to show that they describe the behavior of the reactor system during and following an accident resulting in a degraded core.

(iv) Supports the design of the hydrogen control system selected to meet the requirements of this section; and,

(v) Demonstrates, for those reactors that do not rely upon an inerted atmosphere to comply with paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, that:

(A) Containment structural integrity is maintained. Containment structural integrity must be demonstrated by use of an analytical technique that is accepted by the NRC staff in accordance with § 50.90. This demonstration must include sufficient supporting justification to show that the technique describes the containment response to the structural loads involved. This method could include the use of actual material properties with suitable margins to account for uncertainties in modeling, in material properties, in construction tolerances, and so on; and

(B) Systems and components necessary to establish and maintain safe shutdown and to maintain containment integrity will be capable of performing their functions during and after exposure to the environmental conditions created by the burning of hydrogen, including local detonations, unless such detonations can be shown unlikely to occur.

(c) Requirements for future water-cooled reactor applicants and licensees.2 The requirements in this paragraph apply to all water-cooled reactor construction permits or operating licenses under this part, and to all water-cooled reactor design approvals, design certifications, combined licenses or manufacturing licenses under part 52 of this chapter, any of which are issued after October 16, 2003.

(1) Mixed atmosphere. All containments must have a capability for ensuring a mixed atmosphere during design-basis and significant beyond design-basis accidents.

(2) Combustible gas control. All containments must have an inerted atmosphere, or must limit hydrogen concentrations in containment during and following an accident that releases an equivalent amount of hydrogen as would be generated from a 100 percent fuel clad-coolant reaction, uniformly distributed, to less than 10 percent (by volume) and maintain containment structural integrity and appropriate accident mitigating features.

(3) Equipment Survivability. Containments that do not rely upon an inerted atmosphere to control combustible gases must be able to establish and maintain safe shutdown and containment structural integrity with systems and components capable of performing their functions during and after exposure to the environmental conditions created by the burning of hydrogen. Environmental conditions caused by local detonations of hydrogen must also be included, unless such detonations can be shown unlikely to occur. The amount of hydrogen to be considered must be equivalent to that generated from a fuel clad-coolant reaction involving 100 percent of the fuel cladding surrounding the active fuel region.

(4) Monitoring. (i) Equipment must be provided for monitoring oxygen in containments that use an inerted atmosphere for combustible gas control. Equipment for monitoring oxygen must be functional, reliable, and capable of continuously measuring the concentration of oxygen in the containment atmosphere following a significant beyond design-basis accident for combustible gas control and accident management, including emergency planning.

(ii) Equipment must be provided for monitoring hydrogen in the containment. Equipment for monitoring hydrogen must be functional, reliable, and capable of continuously measuring the concentration of hydrogen in the containment atmosphere following a significant beyond design-basis accident for accident management, including emergency planning.

(5) Structural analysis. An applicant must perform an analysis that demonstrates containment structural integrity. This demonstration must use an analytical technique that is accepted by the NRC and include sufficient supporting justification to show that the technique describes the containment response to the structural loads involved. The analysis must address an accident that releases hydrogen generated from 100 percent fuel clad-coolant reaction accompanied by hydrogen burning. Systems necessary to ensure containment integrity must also be demonstrated to perform their function under these conditions.

(d) Requirements for future non water-cooled reactor applicants and licensees and certain water-cooled reactor applicants and licensees. The requirements in this paragraph apply to all construction permits and operating licenses under this part, and to all design approvals, design certifications, combined licenses, or manufacturing licenses under part 52 of this chapter, for non water-cooled reactors and water-cooled reactors that do not fall within the description in paragraph (c), footnote 1 of this section, any of which are issued after October 16, 2003. Applications subject to this paragraph must include:

(1) Information addressing whether accidents involving combustible gases are technically relevant for their design, and

(2) If accidents involving combustible gases are found to be technically relevant, information (including a design-specific probabilistic risk assessment) demonstrating that the safety impacts of combustible gases during design-basis and significant beyond design-basis accidents have been addressed to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety and common defense and security.

[43 FR 50163, Oct. 27, 1978, as amended at 46 FR 58486, Dec. 2, 1981; 50 FR 3504, Jan. 25, 1985; 50 FR 5567, Feb. 11, 1985; 51 FR 40308, Nov. 6, 1986; 53 FR 43420, Oct. 27, 1988; 57 FR 39358, Aug. 31, 1992, 61 FR 39299, July 29, 1996; 64 FR 48951, Sept. 9, 1999; 68 FR 54141, Sep. 16, 2003]

2 The requirements of this paragraph apply only to water-cooled reactor designs with characteristics (e.g., type and quantity of cladding materials) such that the potential for production of combustible gases is comparable to light water reactor designs licensed as of October 16, 2003.

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