Title: Mechanical properties and microstructure of long term thermal aged WWER 440 RPV steel
Citation: JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS vol. 486 p. 138-147
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC106338
ISSN: 0022-3115
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC106338
DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2017.01.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The integrity assessment of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) is essential for the safe and Long Term Operation (LTO) of a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Hardening and embrittlement of RPV caused by neutron irradiation and thermal ageing are main reasons for mechanical properties degradation during the operation of an NPP. The thermal ageing-induced degradation of RPV steels becomes more significant with extended operational lives of NPPs. Consequently, the evaluation of thermal ageing effects is important for the structural integrity assessments required for the lifetime extension of NPPs. As a part of NRG's research programme on Structural Materials for safe-LTO of Light Water Reactor (LWR) RPVs, WWER-440 surveillance specimens, which have been thermal aged for 27 years (∼200,000 h) at 290 °C in a surveillance channel of Armenian-NPP, are investigated. Results from the mechanical and microstructural examination of these thermal aged specimens are presented in this article. The results indicate the absence of significant long term thermal ageing effect of 15Cr2MoV-A steel. No age hardening was detected in aged tensile specimens compared with the as-received condition. There is no difference between the impact properties of as-received and thermal aged weld metals. The upper shelf energy of the aged steel remains the same as for the as-received material at a rather high level of about 120 J. The T41 value did not change and was found to be about 10 °C. The microstructure of thermal aged weld, consisting carbides, carbonitrides and manganese-silicon inclusions, did not change significantly compared to as-received state. Grain-boundary segregation of phosphorus in long term aged weld is not significant either which has been confirmed by the absence of intergranular fracture increase in the weld. Negligible hardening and embrittlement observed after such long term thermal ageing is attributed to the optimum chemical composition of 15Cr2MoV-A for high thermal stability.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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