Standard Active Last Updated: Dec 20, 2018
ASTM E853-18

Standard Practice for Analysis and Interpretation of Light-Water Reactor Surveillance Neutron Exposure Results

Significance and Use

3.1 The objectives of a reactor vessel surveillance program are twofold. The first requirement of the program is to monitor changes in the fracture toughness properties of ferritic materials in the reactor vessel beltline region resulting from exposure to neutron irradiation and the thermal environment. The second requirement is to make use of the data obtained from the surveillance program to determine the conditions under which the vessel can be operated throughout its service life.

3.1.1 To satisfy the first requirement of 3.1, the tasks to be carried out are straightforward. Each of the irradiation capsules that comprise the surveillance program may be treated as a separate experiment. The goal is to define and carry to completion a dosimetry program that will, a posteriori, describe the neutron field to which the materials test specimens were exposed. The resultant information will then become part of a data base applicable in a stricter sense to the specific plant from which the capsule was removed, but also in a broader sense to the industry as a whole.

3.1.2 To satisfy the second requirement of 3.1, the tasks to be carried out are somewhat complex. The objective is to describe accurately the neutron field to which the pressure vessel itself will be exposed over its service life. This description of the neutron field must include spatial gradients within the vessel wall. Therefore, heavy emphasis must be placed on the use of neutron transport techniques as well as on the choice of a design basis for the computations. Since a given surveillance capsule measurement, particularly one obtained early in plant life, is not necessarily representative of long-term reactor operation, a simple normalization of neutron transport calculations to dosimetry data from a given capsule may not be appropriate (1-67).2

3.2 The objectives and requirements of a reactor vessel's support structure's surveillance program are much less stringent, and at present, are limited to physics-dosimetry measurements through ex-vessel cavity monitoring coupled with the use of available test reactor metallurgical data to determine the condition of any support structure steels that might be subject to neutron induced property changes (1, 29, 44-58, 65-70).


1.1 This practice covers the methodology, summarized in Annex A1, to be used in the analysis and interpretation of neutron exposure data obtained from LWR pressure vessel surveillance programs; and, based on the results of that analysis, establishes a formalism to be used to evaluate present and future condition of the pressure vessel and its support structures2 (1-74).3

1.2 This practice relies on, and ties together, the application of several supporting ASTM standard practices, guides, and methods (see Master Matrix E706) (1, 5, 13, 48, 49).2 In order to make this practice at least partially self-contained, a moderate amount of discussion is provided in areas relating to ASTM and other documents. Support subject areas that are discussed include reactor physics calculations, dosimeter selection and analysis, and exposure units.

1.3 This practice is restricted to direct applications related to surveillance programs that are established in support of the operation, licensing, and regulation of LWR nuclear power plants. Procedures and data related to the analysis, interpretation, and application of test reactor results are addressed in Practice E1006, Guide E900, and Practice E1035.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 12.02
Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/E0853-18
ICS Code: 27.120.20