This paper presents the basis for utilizing fracture mechanics technology based upon data obtained from small Charpy V-notch specimens incorporated in reactor vessel surveillance programs. Included is a brief background on linear elastic fracture mechanics and a discussion of reactor surveillance programs in general. Data obtained from published literature are organized and an empirical approach is proposed to utilize the fracture mechanics technique in surveillance programs. A typical problem is included to demonstrate that the approach discussed can be successfully applied to nuclear pressure vessel safety analysis.

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