This study investigates the degradation of the heat transfer performance of a closed-circuit intermediate natural circulation heat transport loop used as a passive safety system in a nuclear power plant (NPP). The degradation arises from the strong thermal-hydraulic (TH) coupling of the loop operating characteristics, saturation temperature and pressure, and natural circulation flow rate, which determine the heat rejection rate to the TH boundary conditions imposed on the hot side of the loop by the transitory state of the primary reactor coolant system (RCS) of the NPP. Several operator actions related to a feed-and-bleed emergency operating procedure (F&B) are postulated, and system TH code simulations are performed to demonstrate how the F&B can induce two-phase flow conditions in the RCS. Natural circulation two-phase flow regimes in the RCS hot leg can significantly reduce the heat transfer to the circulating working fluid of the interfacing heat transport loop over long periods, sometimes lasting over 24 h, of passive system mission time. A transient performance indicator for the passive system mission is introduced for use in the passive reliability assessment and quantitative comparison of transient simulations. The need to consider human factors in the design and operation of NPP passive safety systems is stressed.