Section XI of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code provides KIc and KIa fracture toughness models for ferritic steels. These models are based on linear elastic fracture mechanics methods and were initially developed in the 1970s; they remain largely unchanged since that time. Recently, a modification to Code Case (CC) N-830 has been proposed to provide alternative fracture toughness models for use in the flaw evaluation methodologies of ASME Section XI Nonmandatory Appendices A and K. The integrated models contained in proposed Code Case revision predict the mean trends and scatter of the fracture toughness behavior of ferritic steels throughout the temperature range from the lower shelf to the upper shelf. These models include the transition fracture toughness Master Curve and crack arrest master curve approaches that describe the temperature dependence and scatter in KJc and KIa, respectively in the lower transition temperature region. Also included is a model describing the temperature dependence and scatter of JIc on the upper shelf. Finally, linkage models quantify the inter-relationships between these toughness metrics and how they change due to the irradiation-induced hardening. Together, these models describe the temperature dependence and scatter of fracture toughness initiation and arrest behavior for all ferritic reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steels from lower shelf through transition to the upper shelf, all indexed to a single parameter: T0.
In late 2017 the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) published a report, MRP-418, providing the technical basis for these revisions to CC N-830. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff review of the revised Code Case and MRP-418 resulted in substantive questions regarding validation and range of applicability of the various toughness models. An on-going effort addresses these concerns, and a revision to MRP-418 scheduled for publication later in 2019 will summarize that work. This paper describes the efforts of the WGFE CC-N-830 group to respond to the NRC’s comments, and summarizes responses to some of the comments.