The primary objective of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section XI is to provide the rules and requirements for maintaining pressure boundary integrity of components, piping, and equipment during the life of a nuclear power plant. Pressure boundary integrity in terms of assuring resistance to sudden and catastrophic failure has been an essential objective of the ASME Code since its inception in 1914. These objectives are especially important in ASME Section XI since maintaining pressure boundary integrity of components has a crucial role in ensuring safe and reliable operation in nuclear operating plants. The purpose of this paper is to describe the evaluation procedures, methods, and acceptance criteria for flaws detected in plant components during implementation of in-service inspection surveillance program. For nuclear plant components, pressure boundary integrity includes both leak integrity (no leakage from the reactor coolant system) and structural integrity (no rupture or burst of the pressure boundary). The evaluation requirements in ASME Section XI provide specific rules for assessing the acceptance limits for flaw indications that may be detected during the service life of a nuclear component. In addition to describing current flaw evaluation procedures, details of recent Code developments and improvements are discussed.

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