The steps required for the development of a Zr-2.5Nb pressure tube with a 30-year service life are outlined. The life-limiting factors of fracture and deformation are described, and progress towards closing the gap between the properties required to meet the target lifetime and the behavior of current materials is summarized. Fracture is avoided by eliminating hydrides at reactor operating temperatures, by controlling the initial hydrogen concentration and minimizing deuterium ingress from corrosion, and maintaining high toughness. Tube elongation has been reduced by microstructural modification, but transverse deformation remains a challenge.
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