Neutron flux and annealing effects on irradiation hardening of RPV materials

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This paper aims to examine an eventual effect of neutron flux, sometimes referred to as dose rate effect, on irradiation hardening of a typical A533B reactor pressure vessel steel. Tensile tests on both low flux (reactor surveillance data) and high flux (BR2 reactor) were performed in a large fluence range. The obtained results indicate two features. First, the surveillance data exhibit a constant (~90 MPa) higher yield strength than the high flux data. However, this difference cannot be explained from a flux effect but most probably from differences in the initial tensile properties. The hardening kinetic of both low and high flux is the same. Annealing at low temperature, 345°C/40 h, to eventually reveal unstable matrix damage did not affect both BR2 and surveillance specimens. This is confirmed by other annealing experimental data including both tensile and hardness measurements and tensile data on A508 forging and weld. It is suggested that the absence of flux effect on the tensile properties while different radiation-induced microstructures can be attributed to thermal ageing effects.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011


  • radiation hardening, reactor pressure vessel, neutron flux

ID: 384535