Description: 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 irradiation-induced 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 the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Date: February 1, 1998
Creator: Rosseel, T.M.
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