The potential impact of reactor water environment on reducing the fatigue life of light water reactor (LWR) piping components has been an area of extensive research. While available data suggest a reduction in fatigue life when laboratory samples are tested under simulated reactor water environments, reconciliation of this data with plant operating experience, plant-specific operating conditions, and established ASME Code design processes is necessary before a conclusion can be reached regarding the need for explicit consideration of reactor water environment in component integrity evaluations. U.S. nuclear industry efforts to better understand this issue and ascertain the impact, if any, on existing ASME Code guidance have been performed through the EPRI Materials Reliability Program (MRP). Based on the MRP activities completed to date there is no need for explicit incorporation of reactor water environmental effects for carbon and low-alloy steel components in the ASME Code. This paper summarizes ongoing MRP activities and presents the technical arguments for resolution of the environmental fatigue issue for carbon and low-alloy steel locations.

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