Vacuum Systems Consensus Guideline for Department of Energy Accelerator Laboratories Page: 5 of 14
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Vacuum Guideline Final - 9/9/08
Vacuum vessels, including evacuated chambers and insulated jacketed dewars, can pose a
potential hazard to equipment and personnel from collapse, rupture due to back-fill
pressurization, or implosion due to vacuum window failure. It is therefore important to design
and operate vacuum systems in accordance with applicable and sound engineering principles.
10 CFR 851 defines requirements for pressure systems that also apply to vacuum vessels
subject to back-fill pressurization. Such vacuum vessels are potentially subject to the
requirements of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Pressure Vessel Code
Section Vill (hereafter referred to as the "Code"). However, the scope of the Code excludes
vessels with internal or external operating pressure that do not exceed 15 pounds per square
inch gauge (psig). Therefore, the requirements of the Code do not apply to vacuum systems
provided that adequate pressure relief assures that the maximum internal pressure within the
vacuum vessel is limited to less than 15 psig from all credible pressure sources, including failure
Vacuum vessels that cannot be protected from pressurization exceeding 15 psig are subject to
the requirements of the Code. 10 CFR 851, Appendix A, Part 4, Pressure Safety, Section C
addresses vacuum system requirements for such cases as follows:
"(c) When national consensus codes are not applicable (because of pressure
range, vessel geometry, use of special materials, etc.), contractors must
implement measures to provide equivalent protection and ensure a level of
safety greater than or equal to the level of protection afforded by the ASME or
applicable state or local code. Measures must include the following:
(1) Design drawings, sketches, and calculations must be reviewed and
approved by a qualified independent design professional (i.e., professional
engineer). Documented organizational peer review is acceptable.
(2) Qualified personnel must be used to perform examinations and
inspections of materials, in-process fabrications, non-destructive tests, and
(3) Documentation, traceability, and accountability must be maintained for
each unique pressure vessel or system, including descriptions of design,
pressure conditions, testing, inspection, operation, repair, and maintenance."
The purpose of this guideline is to establish a set of expectations and recommendations which
will satisfy the requirements for vacuum vessels in general and particularly when an equivalent
level of safety as required by 10 CFR 851 must be provided. It should be noted that these
guidelines are not binding on DOE Accelerator Laboratories and that other approaches may be
equally acceptable in addressing the Part 851 requirements.
This document establishes guidelines for the design, construction, and operation of vacuum
vessels designed and built after February 9, 2007.2 This guideline also includes
2 10 CFR 851 came into effect on February 9, 2007. The date that an approved worker safety
and health program had to be in place was May 25, 2007.
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Casey,R.; Haas, E.; Hseuh, H-C.; Kane, S.; Lessard, E.; Sharma, S. et al. Vacuum Systems Consensus Guideline for Department of Energy Accelerator Laboratories, report, September 9, 2008; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901857/m1/5/: accessed May 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.