Skip to Main Content


The accident at Three Mile Island Unit No. 2 on 28 March 1979 was the worst nuclear accident in US history. By Jan 1990, it was possible to electrochemically machine coupons from the lower head using a specially designed tool. The specimens contained the ER308L stainless steel cladding and the A533 Grade B plate material to a depth of about mid-wall. The microstructures of these specimens were compared to that of specimens cut from the Midland, Michigan reactor vessel, made from the same grade and thickness but never placed in service. These specimens were subjected to known thermal treatments between 800 and 1100 deg C for periods of 1 to 100 min. Microstructural parameters in the control specimens and in those from TMI-2 were quantified. Selective etchants were used to better discriminate desired microstructural features, particularly in the cladding. This report is a progress report on the quantification of changes in both the degree of carbide precipitation and delta ferrite content and shape in the cladding as a function of temperature and time to refine the estimates of the maximum temperatures experienced.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.
Don't already have an account? Register

George F. Vander Voort, Thermal Exposure Assessment by Quantitative Microscopy and Selective Etching, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Power Generating Equipment, ASM International, 2019,

Download citation file:

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal