Breakthrough in fracture mechanics


Fracture mechanics, the science of calculating material characteristics, stress, and flaws in plant equipment to evaluate structural integrity, usually spares the owners of nuclear power plants unnecessary expense. Instead of replacing equipment prematurely or waiting for costly, unscheduled materials failures that can take months to repair and cost thousands of dollars a day for replacement power, utilities use fracture mechanics techniques to carefully consider their options. If analyses show repair is unnecessary, plant operation can confidently be resumed. If repair is required, it can either be done immediately or, if deferrable, be scheduled for a later, more convenient outage. Lihach,-N.