Current Physical Problems of the Dynamic Damage in Elements of the First Circuit of VVER Reactors

І. G. Sharaevsky, Т. S. Vlasenko, L. B. Zimin,
А. V. Nоsоvskyi, N. М. Fіаlkо, G. І. Sharaevsky

Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants,
NAS of Ukraine, 12, Lysogirska st., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine



In the context of the actual problems of the physics of operational damage of modern reactor steels produced in the leading countries of the world (USA, Russia, Western Europe) and used for the manufacture of nuclear reactor vessels and other equipment of the first circuit of nuclear power plants, the characteristic features of possible dynamic damage in the responsible elements of this are considered. The mentioned problems are systematized from the standpoint of analyzing the effects of radiation embrittlement, as well as physical and chemical processes that, under certain conditions, are capable of developing in the operating equipment of Ukrainian NPPs, which are already working out their design operational resource. The characteristic features of possible dynamic damage in the operating reactor equipment of Ukrainian and foreign nuclear power plants are considered. The problem is systematized, first of all, from the standpoint of analyzing the operational stability of domestic and foreign reactor steels in relation to their radiation embrittlement. The peculiarities of the course of this physical process have been analyzed, which should be taken into account when determining the maximum possible terms of extension of safe operation of nuclear power units with reactors of the VVER type at the NPP of Ukraine. The main metal-physical properties of reactor steels of various types and possible problems caused by neutron irradiation, physical and chemical processes, vibrational and thermomechanical fatigue, which threaten the unexpected sudden destruction of reactor vessels, are considered. Special attention is paid to mechanical damage and processes accompanying the operation of reactor housings under conditions of cyclic and dynamic loads. A warning has been given regarding the unjustified extension of the period of reactors safe operation. The significant technological lag of the former Soviet, and now Russian, metallurgy from the level of metallurgy of the leading Western countries was noted. Data are provided on the high operational properties of the latest American steels, from which modern reactors of the AR1000 type are manufactured in the USA, and the safety, technical, economic and environmental advantages of using these reactors in Ukraine in comparison with new models of reactors of the VVER-1000 and VVER-1200.

Keywords: reactor vessel, reactor steel, thermomechanical and radiation embrittlement, service life, term of safe operation.


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