Use of HDPE in nuclear power plant piping systems
Piping systems in U.S. nuclear power plants that are relied on for the safe shutdown of the plant are typically constructed to Section III of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel (B&PV) Code. The materials allowed by the ASME B&PV Code have been historically limited to metallic materials only. Due to the success of high density polyethylene (HDPE) in other industries, nuclear power plants in the U.S. have expressed interest in using HDPE piping in ASME B&PV Code applications. In 2008, the first U.S. nuclear power plant was approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to install HDPE in an ASME B&PV Code safety-related system. Since then, the rules for using HDPE have been integrated into the 2015 Edition and 2017 Edition of the ASME B&PV Code. The NRC approved of the 2015 and 2017 Editions in 2020.