SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1989

Residual Life Assessment of Light Water Reactor Pressure Vessels


The service-dependent degradation (aging) of light water reactor (LWR) pressure vessels due to irradiation embrittlement is discussed in this paper. The major variables which influence the irradiation embrittlement of LWR vessels are the copper and nickel content of the vessel materials and the fluence. The vessel beltline region is subjected to the largest fluences. A surveillance program, which consists of tension and Charpy-V-notch (CVN) testing of irradiated specimens of base, heat-affected-zone, and weld materials, is required to monitor changes in their embrittlement. Three main unresolved technical issues are: (1) the limited range and accuracy of the current correlations for calculating shifts in the reference temperature for nil-ductility transition (RTNDT) and changes in the Charpy upper shelf energy; (2) the need to demonstrate the conservatism of using CVN-based RTNDTshifts for certain sensitive reactor pressure vessel materials; and (3) the type of surveillance program required for any renewed operating license period. The damage caused by irradiation embrittlement can impact plant operating procedures, including heat up/cool down and hydrostatic test procedures, as well as the acceptability of various plant transients.

Author Information

Shah, VN
EG&G Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls, Idaho
Server, WL
Robert L. Cloud Associates, Inc., Berkley, CA
Odette, GR
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Amar, AS
, West Hartford, CT
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Developed by Committee: E10
Pages: 161–173
DOI: 10.1520/STP10393S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5074-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1187-5