Many fossil power plants in N. America are now required to operate in excess of 20 years beyond their original design life. To ensure safe reliable operation, life assessment of key high-risk components is required. Life assessment of older power plant requires the application of many diverse techniques and the integration of several engineering disciplines with plant operations experience. Traditional approaches to life assessment of high temperature components will be described and illustrated with examples taken from experience on large coal fired plants from the old Ontario Hydro system. These results will include a number of high energy piping welds with approximately 160,000 hours of service that contain intercritical region heat affected zone (HAZ) creep damage (Type IV). These welds have been monitored through in-situ metallography techniques for over 20,000 hours since damage was first detected. New techniques are also being developed or employed: miniature sample testing for evaluating creep and fracture properties along with miniature EDM sample removal techniques. The use of innovative mechanical scratch gauges for the purpose on-line strain monitoring of mechanical or civil structures. The use of orientation imaging microscopy (OIM) for simultaneous comprehensive characterization of the interaction between residual plastic strains, texture, grains size distribution and other crystallographic features as applied to root cause failure analysis. Finally risk based asset management software RBMS for the purpose of detailed component assessments. Examples/results of these techniques will also be presented in the paper.

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