The assessment of fatigue and cyclic crack growth behavior of safety relevant components is of importance for ageing management with regard to safety and reliability. For cyclic stress evaluation different codes and standards provide fatigue analysis procedures to be performed considering the various mechanical and thermal loading histories and geometric complexities of the components. For the fatigue design curves used as limiting criteria the influence of different factors like e.g. environment, surface finish and temperature must be taken into consideration in an appropriate way.

Fatigue tests were performed in the low cycle fatigue and high cycle fatigue regime with low-alloy steels as well as with Nb- and Ti-stabilized German austenitic stainless steels in an air and high temperature BWR environment to extend the state of knowledge of environmentally assisted fatigue as it can occur in BWR plants.

Using the RPV steel 22NiMoCr3-7 experimental data was developed to verify the influence of BWR coolant environment (high purity water as well as water containing sulphate with 90 ppb SO4 and water containing chloride with 50 ppb Cl at a test temperature of 240 °C and an oxygen content of 400 ppb) on the fatigue life and to extend the basis for a reliable estimation of the remaining service life of reactor components. Corresponding experiments in air were performed to establish reference data to determine the environmental correction factor Fen.

The experimental results are compared with available international mean data curves, the new design curves and on the basis of the environmental factor Fen.

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