As part of the requirement to demonstrate safe operation of the steel reactor pressure vessels for the UK Magnox fleet, surveillance samples were installed at the time of construction. These were representative of the steels and weld metals used for the manufacture of the vessels. The history of sample removal and mechanical property testing is briefly reviewed. The factors leading to changes in the fracture resistance and tensile properties will be discussed. The link is described between the mechanisms leading to changes in mechanical properties and the statistically based approach adopted to predict values of fracture toughness for the neutron dose and temperatures at key vessel locations. Predictions are compared with test results obtained from samples removed from a decommissioned reactor and also surveillance and accelerated radiation samples removed towards the end of reactor life.