The application of local criteria for predicting brittle fracture of reactor pressure vessel steels is discussed with an emphasis on radiation embrittlement. An association of the radiation-induced damages and the processes of initiation and propagation of cleavage microcracks is analyzed from the standpoint of the local criterion for fracture. Physical-mechanical models are put forward to describe the influence of radiation damages on the cleavage microcrack initiation. The influence of the material hardening caused by neutron irradiation and plastic deformation on the fracture toughness is studied.
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