STP909: Irradiation Effects in Reactor Pressure Vessel Steels: A Nuclear Regulatory Commission Perspective

    Serpan, CZ
    Chief, Materials Engineering Branch, and senior materials engineer, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

    Randall, PN
    Chief, Materials Engineering Branch, and senior materials engineer, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

    Pages: 8    Published: Jan 1986


    Abstract

    The embrittling effect of neutron irradiation on reactor pressure vessel steel and welds has a significant impact on the regulation of reactors by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Because the NRC is concerned with the continuing integrity and safety of the reactor's primary system, the neutron-irradiation-induced loss of fracture toughness and ductility must be carefully documented, understood, and controlled to assure that despite such loss, there is always a sufficient reserve of toughness and ductility to preclude crack initiation and uncontrolled propagation in the unlikely event of an accident. Aspects of embrittlement important to the NRC, which are discussed herein, include prediction of the transition temperature and upper-shelf-energy levels at critical vessel locations for the setting of pressure-temperature limits, for analysis of accident loadings such as pressurized thermal shock, and for evaluation of flaws found in inspection. Also discussed are the use of embrittlement-related neutron dosimetry and evaluation of vessel annealing.

    Keywords:

    pressure vessel steels, radiation effects, pressure vessel safety, radiation embrittlement, mechanical properties, neutron dosimetry, neutron spectrum, pressurized thermal shock


    Paper ID: STP23025S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E10.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP23025S


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