Bonded or Unbonded Technologies for Nuclear Reactor Prestressed Concrete Containments

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OECD/NEA/CSNI Working Group on Integrity and Ageing of Components and Structures (WGIAGE) has the main mission to advance the current understanding of those aspects relevant to ensuring the integrity of structures, systems and components under design and beyond design loads, to provide guidance in choosing the optimal ways of dealing with challenges to the integrity of operating as well as new nuclear power plants, and to make use of an integrated approach to design, safety and plant life management. The work related to the risks of the loss of pre-stressing force in concrete structures has been in high priority during the activities of the concrete sub-group of WGIAGE.

In this study the two post-tensioning methodologies: bonded and unbonded methods and their technological features are analysed. In the bonded technology, the tendon cannot slide in its duct due to the cement grouting which is injected after tensioning. In the unbonded technology, the tendon can slide inside its duct, the corrosion protection is given by grease, wax or dry air. A key point concerning the assessment of durability and safety of prestressed concrete containments is the technology chosen for tendon protection: bonded with cement grout or unbonded and protected by grease or soft products. The mechanical behaviour of the containment is directly influenced by the adherence of the tendons to the concrete, locally and under high stresses in case of severe accident. The bonded or unbonded tendons of post-tensioned concrete containment of the Nuclear Power Plants have the major role of containment (balance of the pressure effect during design basis and beyond design accident). Many difficulties around the design, the construction and the in service inspection are related to the tendons.