Physical Ageing of The Research Reactor Core Structural Materials Due To Neutron Irradiation Exposure: A Review

Julwan Hendry Purba



A research reactor (RR) is a nuclear reactor that has function to generate and utilize neutron flux and radiation ionization for research purposes and industrial applications. More than 60% of current operating RRs have been operated for 30 years or more. As the time passes, the functional capabilities of structures, systems and components (SSCs) of those RRs deteriorate by physical ageing, which can be caused by neutron irradiation exposure such as irradiation induced dislocation and microstructural changes. To extend the lifetime and/or to avoid unplanned outages, ageing on the safety related SSCs of RRs need to be properly managed. An ageing management is a strategy to engineer, operate, maintenance, and control SSC degradation within acceptable
limits. The purpose of this study is to review physical ageing of the core structural materials of the RRs caused by neutron irradiation exposure. In order to achieve this objective, a wide range of literatures are reviewed. Comprehensive discussions on irradiation behaviors are limited only on reactor vessel and core support structure materials made from zirconium and beryllium as well as their alloys, which are widely used in RRs. It is found that the stability of the mechanical properties of zirconium and beryllium as well as their alloys was mostly affected by the neutron fluences and temperatures.

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