Machine learning in nondestructive estimation of neutron-induced reactor pressure vessel embrittlement

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202104071830
Title: Machine learning in nondestructive estimation of neutron-induced reactor pressure vessel embrittlement
Author: Grönroos, Sonja
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202104071830
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/328799
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: Several nuclear power plants in the European Union are approaching the ends of their originally planned lifetimes. Extensions to the lifetimes are made to secure the supply of nuclear power in the coming decades. To ensure the safe long-term operation of a nuclear power plant, the neutron-induced embrittlement of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) must be assessed periodically. The embrittlement of RPV steel alloys is determined by measuring the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) and upper-shelf energy (USE) of the material. Traditionally, a destructive Charpy impact test is used to determine the DBTT and USE. This thesis contributes to the NOMAD project. The goal of the NOMAD project is to develop a tool that uses nondestructively measured parameters to estimate the DBTT and USE of RPV steel alloys. The NOMAD Database combines data measured using six nondestructive methods with destructively measured DBTT and USE data. Several non-irradiated and irradiated samples made out of four different steel alloys have been measured. As nondestructively measured parameters do not directly describe material embrittlement, their relationship with the DBTT and USE needs to be determined. A machine learning regression algorithm can be used to build a model that describes the relationship. In this thesis, six models are built using six different algorithms, and their use is studied in predicting the DBTT and USE based on the nondestructively measured parameters in the NOMAD Database. The models estimate the embrittlement with sufficient accuracy. All models predict the DBTT and USE based on unseen input data with mean absolute errors of approximately 20 °C and 10 J, respectively. Two of the models can be used to evaluate the importance of the nondestructively measured parameters. In the future, machine learning algorithms could be used to build a tool that uses nondestructively measured parameters to estimate the neutron-induced embrittlement of RPVs on site.
Subject: Embrittlement
machine learning
nondestructive evaluation
reactor pressure vessel


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