To achieve high reliability for new designs and extended operation of Reactor Pressure Vessels and Internals it is mandatory to apply the technical knowledge gained during operation of the existing Plants to assure that sufficient “Margin” is built into the new design. This paper discusses the importance of four key structural degradation mechanisms that have been shown by operational experience to affect the reliability of the BWR. These are: 1) Stress Corrosion Cracking (IGSCC) of Stainless Steel and Nickel-based Alloys; 2) Irradiation Assisted SCC (IASCC) of Stainless Steel and Nickel-based Alloys; 3) Irradiation Embrittlement of RPV low alloy Steel; 4) Corrosion Assisted Fatigue of Carbon and Low Alloy Steel. While the focus of this paper is the BWR, the mechanisms discussed are equally applicable to the PWR, although the water chemistry effects and mitigations will be different.

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