The traditional method for static strength assessment of structures uses elastic stresses computed along critical ligaments and then divided into categories depending on their nature e.g. bending/membrane and primary/secondary. More recently, highly realistic plastic simulations are possible using FE (finite elements) which offer useful advantages over the traditional approach including (a) more accurate modelling of complex geometries, (b) a more straightforward assessment process and (c) a less conservative approach. The plastic analysis must consider both global and local effects, and the paper looks in detail at the ductility exhaustion method for the latter. Simple test cases show how the method can be applied in both the Abaqus and ANSYS FE Codes and for the case of a JET beryllium tile, the method has improved reserve factors for disruption loads considerably to the point where the lower operating temperature can be safely lowered from 200?C to 100?C where the low ductility of beryllium is an issue.