The decommissioning of Units 1 and 2 of the Zion Nuclear Power Station in Zion, Illinois, after ∼ 15 effective full-power years of service presents a unique opportunity to characterize the degradation of in-service reactor pressure vessel (RPV) materials and to assess currently available models for predicting radiation embrittlement of RPV steels [1–3]. Moreover, through-wall thickness attenuation and property distributions are being obtained and the results to be compared with surveillance specimen test data. It is anticipated that these efforts will provide a better understanding of materials degradation associated with extending the lifetime of existing nuclear power plants (NPPs) beyond 60 years of service and subsequent license renewal. In support of extended service and current operations of the US nuclear reactor fleet, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), through the U.S. Department of Energy, Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, coordinated procurement of materials, components, and other items of interest from the decommissioned Zion NPPs. In this report, harvesting, cutting sample blocks, machining test specimens, test plans, and the current status of materials characterization of the RPV from the decommissioned Zion NPP Unit 1 will be discussed. The primary foci are the circumferential, Linde 80 flux, wire heat 72105 (WF-70) beltline weld and the A533B base metal from the intermediate shell harvested from a region of peak fluence (0.7 × 1019 n/cm2, E > 1.0 MeV) on the internal surface of the Zion Unit 1 vessel. Following the determination of the through-thickness chemical composition, Charpy impact, fracture toughness, tensile, and hardness testing are being performed to characterize the through-thickness mechanical properties of base metal and beltline-weld materials. In addition to mechanical properties, microstructural characterizations are being performed using various microstructural techniques, including Atom Probe Tomography, Small Angle Neutron Scattering, and Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy.

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