Potential air ingress scenarios during accidents in nuclear reactors or spent fuel pools have raised the question of the influence of air, especially of nitrogen, on the oxidation of zirconium alloys, which are used as fuel cladding tubes and other structure materials. In this context, the reaction of zirconium with nitrogen-containing atmospheres and the formation of zirconium nitride play an important role in understanding the oxidation mechanism. This article presents the results of analysis of the interaction of the oxygen-preloaded niobium-bearing alloy M5® with nitrogen over a wide range of temperatures (800e 1400C) and oxygen contents in the metal alloy (1e7 wt.%). A strongly increasing nitriding ratewith rising oxygen content in the metal was found. The highest reaction rates were measured for the saturated a-Zr(O), as it exists at the metaleoxide interface, at 1300C. The temperature maximum of the reaction rate was approximately 100 K higher than for Zircaloy-4, already investigated in a previous study . The article presents results of thermogravimetric experiments as well as posttest examinations by optical microscopy, ... mehrscanning electron microscopy (SEM), and microprobe elemental analyses. Furthermore, a comparison with results obtained with Zircaloy-4 will be made.