The place and function of the reactor vessel in the Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant—the most complex nuclear structure built to date—is described. The design basis must lead to a conservative structure. Evaluation of the design of any new and radically different structure must be based upon tests. Strain gaging during hydrostatic testing gave limited results. High-temperature strain gages will be used during simulated-service tests prior to start-up. A successful high temperature strain-gaging technique for long-time static applications up to at least 900 F is developed and described.

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