In consideration of structural alloy property deterioration during long-term exposure to elevated temperatures, the yield and ultimate tensile strength reduction factors are provided in the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III for nuclear reactor component design and operation analysis. Because the Gen IV reactor requirement of 40 ∼ 60 years of service life makes it difficult to acquire such long exposure test data for developing the reduction factors, they must be derived from test data with relatively short exposure by predictive methods considered to be reasonably reliable. A novel approach with a physically-based model has recently been proposed for application to development of reduction factors for 9Cr-1Mo-V. In the model, contributors to the tensile strength are first identified and related to definite microstructural features of the alloy, then some physically-based methods are employed to simulate the microstructural evolution, and finally the model is assembled with test-data-calibrated parameters to generate the yield and ultimate tensile strength reduction factors covering elevated temperature exposure for up to 57 years. The approach is undoubtedly a trailblazing development that will, if proven reliable, lead to a paradigm shift in predicting thermal aging behavior of many other alloys. Its debut application to Section III, however, concerns nuclear safety and naturally warrants objective, impartial, and thorough technical scrutiny. In the present paper, the novel and conventional approaches are discussed. Necessary improvements to the novel approach are recommended for its application to nuclear structural component design and analysis, and for its potential expanded use to other alloys.

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