Title: The Role of Pressure Vessel Embrittlement in the Long Term Operation of Nuclear Power Plants
Citation: NUCLEAR ENGINEERING AND DESIGN vol. 243 p. 63-68
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC63602
ISSN: 0029-5493
URI: www.elsevier.com/locate/nucengdes
DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.12.005
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The lack of new build of plants over the last twenty years has resulted in a switch within the industry from design, construction and development of new systems to the strengthening of safety systems and to the life extension, or long term operation (LTO), of existing reactors. The most relevant component of any nuclear power plan (NPP) is the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). This is because currently the RPV is still considered irreplaceable or prohibitively expensive to replace. This means, that if it degrades sufficiently, it could be the operational life limiting feature of the NPP. A RPV operational life of 60 years is being considered frequently by many utilities in their plant life management programmes. Areas of improvement facing long term operation are the reduction of uncertainties in the embrittlement parameters of irradiated vessels, and the development of embrittlement trend curves at high fluence levels, where surveillance data are scarce. Different techniques can be used to upgrade the surveillance programmes, as the use of miniature or reconstituted specimens and the application of best estimate assessment tools (e.g. Master Curve). Several relevant international research projects are on-going or have been proposed to clarify the material condition of long operated vessels. Knowledge management is a complementary tool, but not for it less important. The general context for LTO of RPVs is presented in this paper. Starting with a review of relevant embrittlement issues still open, followed by presenting the different techniques and tools that can be used to support LTO, and summarising the scopes of relevant European and American projects and activities in this research area. Finally, the European approach to knowledge preservation and consolidation is presented.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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