United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Heavy-Section Steel Irradiation Program: Progress Report April 1997 - March 1998 (NUREG/CR-5591, Volume 8, No. 2)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: March 2000
Date Published: April 2000

Prepared by:
T.M. Rosseel

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6158

C.J. Fairbanks, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Risk Analysis and Applications
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code L1098

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Abstract

Maintaining the integrity of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in a light-water-cooled nuclear power plant is crucial in preventing and controlling severe accidents that have the potential for major contamination release. Because the RPV is the only key safety-related component of the plant for which a redundant backup system does not exist, it is imperative to fully understand the degree of irradiationinduced degradation of the RPV's fracture resistance that occurs during service. For this reason, the Heavy-Section Steel Irradiation (HSSI) Program has been established. Its primary goal is to provide a thorough, quantitative assessment of the effects of neutron irradiation on the material behavior and, in particular, the fracture-toughness properties of typical pressure-vessel steels as they relate to light-water RPV integrity. Effects of specimen size; material chemistry; product form and microstructure; irradiation fluence, flux, temperature, and spectrum; and postirradiation annealing are being examined on a wide range of fracture properties. The HSSI Program is arranged into eight tasks: (1) program management, (2) irradiation effects in engineering materials, (3) annealing, (4) microstructural analysis of radiation effects, (5) in-service irradiated and aged material evaluations, (6) fracture-toughness curve shift method, (7) special technical assistance, and (8) foreign research interactions. The work is performed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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