The European Union has defined clear short and long term objectives to achieve its energy transition towards sustainable energy and a climate neutral economy by 2050. The success of this transition relies on the combination of energy efficiency and low carbon energy in all sectors of the economy. In particular, the industry and transport sector will need to rely more heavily on electricity to achieve this goal. In all electricity mix scenarios up to 2050, one needs to rely on one or a combination of existing nuclear power plants, long term operation, new nuclear build and future nuclear systems. Safety and operability of any nuclear systems heavily relies on a defense in depth strategy where the integrity of structural material plays an essential role.
Due to material availability and/or irradiation constraints, the use of small sized specimens to obtain reliable measurement of the resistance to fracture is needed by the nuclear industry to comply with the amended Nuclear Safety Directive. Small sized specimen fracture toughness measurement has already been shown to be possible in both unirradiated and irradiated conditions. However, some effort is still required to achieve European regulatory acceptance of this approach by demonstrating its applicability to a suitably large database covering a wide variety of materials and irradiation conditions representative of long-term operation conditions.
The goal of this project is to join European and International efforts to establish the foundation of small specimen fracture toughness validation and demonstration to achieve change in code and standards allowing to address the various national regulatory authority concerns. At a very early stage, FRACTESUS is involving regulatory bodies, code and standardization committees, the industry and the international community in order for the consortium to optimize available resources and expertise.