In nuclear power plants power actuated pressure relief valves serve several purposes. They act as safety valves and open automatically in response to unusually high pressures in the primary system. They also act as power operated valves and are used to relieve steam in response to automatic or manually initiated control signals. These valves are required to lift completely over a short duration from the time that they receive an actuation signal, or the system pressure exceeds the set point. This short lift time results in the valve disk moving at high velocities, and can result in high impact forces on the piston and stem when the valve fully opens.

In order to evaluate and improve the performance of a two-stage power actuated relief valve, an analysis was performed to calculate the impact force on the main disk piston when it opened and the resulting stresses. The analysis was based on the main disk piston velocity measured during valve testing. Of particular interest were the stresses in the threaded connection between the stem and the main disk piston.

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