Nuclear reactor materials are affected by many stressors during their operation that result either from the nuclear reactions in the reactor core or by operation conditions (temperature, pressure) and water environment.
Generally, several different methods of monitoring damage in reactor materials are applied, depending on their type, design and conditions:
- Destructive, usually represent by surveillance specimens,
- Semi-destructive, usually performed by cutting small specimens from component surface, e.g. for small punch tests,
- Non-destructive, representing by non-destructive inspection methods applied during in-service inspections, like traditional ultrasonics, optical, dye-penetrant, eddy current etc. and also some new like automated ball indentation, thermoelectric power measurements etc.
The paper summarizes the possibility of application of these methods on main reactor components and shows some typical results and problems.