An extreme ultraviolet and soft x-ray radiation electric capillary discharge source that includes a boron nitride housing defining a capillary bore that is positioned between two electrodes one of which is connected to a source of electric potential can generate a high EUV and soft x-ray radiation flux from the capillary bore outlet with minimal debris. The electrode that is positioned adjacent the capillary bore outlet is typically grounded. Pyrolytic boron nitride, highly oriented pyrolytic boron nitride, and cubic boron nitride are particularly suited. The boron nitride capillary bore can be configured as an insert that is encased in an exterior housing that is constructed of a thermally conductive material. Positioning the ground electrode sufficiently close to the capillary bore outlet also reduces bore erosion.