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Nuclear Irradiation (Steel Embrittlement)

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 19 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent irradiation causes embrittlement of steel; and how the problem is dealt with in nuclear power plant construction.

I am advised that irradiation can cause embrittlement of steel when impurities such as copper, phosphorus and sulphur are present above certain levels.The nuclear industry world-wide is aware of this problem and preventative measures have now been adopted including stricter controls of the level of impurities and improved welding procedures.