Large-scale fracture mechanics tests have resulted in the identification of a number of fracture technology issues. Identification of additional issues has come from the reactor vessel materials irradiation test program and from reactor operating experience. This paper provides a review of fracture issues with an emphasis on their potential impact on a reactor vessel pressurized thermal shock (PTS) analysis. Mixed mode crack propagation emerges as a major issue, due in large measure to the poor performance of existing models for the prediction of ductile tearing. Rectification of ductile tearing technology deficiencies may require extending the technology to include a more complete treatment of stress state and loading history effects. The effect of cladding on vessel fracture remains uncertain to the point that it is not possible to determine at this time if the net effect will be positive or negative. Enhanced fracture toughness for shallow flaws has been demonstrated for low-strength structural steels. Demonstration of a similar effect in reactor pressure vessel steels could have a significant beneficial effect on the probabilistic analysis of reactor vessel fracture. Further development of existing fracture mechanics models and concepts is required to meet the special requirements for fracture evaluation of circumferential flaws in the welds of ring-forged vessels. Fracture technology advances required to address the issues discussed in this paper are the major objective for the ongoing Heavy Section Steel Technology (HSST) program at ORNL.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.