Long term irradiation phenomena in RPV steels - the LONGLIFE project

Long term irradiation phenomena in RPV steels - the LONGLIFE project

Altstadt, E.; Bergner, F.; Hein, H.

The increasing age of European Nuclear Power Plants and envisaged extensions of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) lifetimes up to 80 years require the accurate prediction and management of RPV neutron irradiation embrittlement. LONGLIFE (“Treatment of long term irradiation embrittlement effects in RPV safety assessment”) is a collaborative project of the 7th Framework Programme of EURATOM. This project has been initiated as the next step forward towards obtaining an improved understanding of irradiation effects in RPV steels under conditions representative of long term operation (LTO) of RPVs. Phenomena which might become important at high neutron fluences (such as late-blooming effects and flux effects) must be considered in detail as part of the process of upgrading safety assessments and embrittlement surveillance procedures to underwrite the safety of LTO of RPVs. The work starts with the collection and evaluation of plant-specific information and data such as target neutron fluences for LTO and the chemical compositions of the materials. This includes a survey of available results of RPV materials data from decommissioned plants of validating surveillance data and studying specific irradiation effects relevant for LTO. Microstructural data are obtained from different techniques with the aim of assessing the adequacy of current dose-damage models with respect to their relevance to the mechanisms of irradiation damage associated with LTO of RPVs. Complementary mechanical tests are performed in order to address gaps in existing experimental data. Microstructural data pertaining to the evolution of irradiation damage are correlated with changes in mechanical properties, and the most important influencing factors will be identified. Surveillance guidelines for LTO of RPV base materials and welds will be developed as one of the principal outputs of the project. The scope of work and the project structure are outlined in the paper. Two LTO relevant phenomena – late blooming effect and flux effect – are discussed more detailed.

Keywords: Reactor Pressure Vessel Steel; Irradiation Embrittlement; Long Term Operation

  • Invited lecture (Conferences)
    25th Symposium on Effects of Radiation on Nuclear Materials, 15.-17.06.2011, Anaheim, USA

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Publ.-Id: 16665