Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are helping to lead transformation of the nation's century-old electric grid by developing new technologies to enhance its reliability and security.
On October 22, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)granted Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station a 40-year operating license for its new Unit 2 reactor. This is the first nuclear reactor to be granted an operating license by the NRC in two decades.
Pressurized water nuclear reactors in the United States generate about 13 percent of U.S. electricity. Though efficient, these reactors face a unique challenge with stress corrosion cracking (SCC). This type of corrosion is one of the primary life-limiting degradation mechanisms of nickel-base alloy pressure boundary components, such as instrumentation and control rod nozzles, the welds that attach these nozzles to the reactor vessel, and welds that connect feedwater piping to the reactor vessel. As interest grows in a more sustainable and efficient fleet of nuclear reactors across the world, there is increasing interest in characterizing SCC initiation response.