Neutron irradiation changes the behavior of construction materials such as strength and ductility, and thus structural design equations or their safety margins should accordingly be updated for the design of nuclear power plants (NPP) under irradiation. However, current design codes do not account for such changes in material strength. In this study, a framework is proposed to evaluate the change of the safety margins in design equations of reinforced concrete (RC) flexural members under radiation environments. Material strength changes are approximated on the basis of a collected test database, and the design strengths of RC beams are evaluated considering these material strength changes. The evaluation results demonstrate that the design strength of an under-reinforced flexural member can increase while the design strength of an over-reinforced member generally decreases. These results are associated with the material strength changes such that the yield strength of steel increases and the compressive strength of concrete decreases with the fluence of neutron radiation. Current NPP design codes need to further consider this un-conservative design possibility due to the design strength reduction of flexural members under irradiation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Mechanical Engineering