The core of a CANDU®1 (CANada Deuterium Uranium) pressurized heavy water reactor includes horizontal Zr-2.5Nb alloy pressure tubes that contain the fuel. Pressure-temperature limits are used in CANDU® reactors for normal operation heat-up and cool-down conditions to maintain margins against fracture. The pressure-temperature limits are determined by postulating a 20 mm long axial through-wall crack in the pressure tube and using a fracture toughness-based calculation procedure. Due to a corrosion reaction with the heavy water coolant, pressure tubes absorb deuterium isotope in service, resulting in an increase in hydrogen equivalent concentration. Experiments have shown that high hydrogen equivalent concentration reduces the fracture toughness of pressure tube material at low temperatures during reactor heat-up and cool-down from normal operating temperatures. New fracture toughness curves that are applicable to material with high hydrogen equivalent concentration have been developed to address this issue. These curves are being used to develop new pressure-temperature limits for fracture protection of CANDU® pressure tubes. The methodology for deriving the pressure-temperature limits for a CANDU® Zr-2.5Nb pressure tube using the new fracture toughness curves is presented in this paper. Preliminary results of pressure-temperature limits for a CANDU® reactor are also provided.

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