Published: Jan 1970
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Among the very earliest power producing reactors were those designed and constructed for the Army. They were built under the Army package power reactor (APPR) concept that dictated small pressure vessels and high flux cores to yield a proportionately high power output for a small physical plant. Because these characteristics result in high fluxes at the pressure vessel, the Army reactors have experienced embrittlement at rates considerably in excess of that exhibited by larger, commercial power reactors. The experience of the Army reactor program can be looked upon as being highly compressed, potential projections of the problems that may be faced by commercial power reactors in the future. The lower operating temperatures and the different, radiation-sensitive steels of the Army reactors accentuate their implications to commercial reactors. For these reasons and the fact that one, the PM-2A, was used as a vessel test experiment for failure analysis, the Army surveillance programs are reviewed here in depth.