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High creep strain experiments have been carried out under irradiation using cold worked Zircaloy-2, cold-worked Zr-Nb, and heat treated Zr-Nb 0.6-in.-diameter tubes in DFR, DMTR, and PLUTO reactor. The tests in PLUTO were found to be the most useful since full creep curves were obtained using neutron radiography techniques. Creep strains of up to 9 percent were obtained on cold-worked Zircaloy-2 tubes without failure, thus substantiating the recommended pressure tube creep strain limit of 3 percent. Up to 5 percent creep strain was observed with cold-worked Zr-Nb tubing, but since one tube failed at only 1.8 percent strain it is not yet possible to specify a realistic yet safe creep limit for this material.
zirconium alloys, tubing, irradiation creep, zirconium, irradiation
Section leader, Risley Engineering and Materials Lab., United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Warrington