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Report No.
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Grain-boundary phosphorus segregation in highly neutron-irradiated reactor pressure vessel steels and its effect on irradiation embrittlement

Hata, Kuniki ; Takamizawa, Hisashi ; Hojo, Tomohiro*; Ebihara, Kenichi   ; Nishiyama, Yutaka ; Nagai, Yasuyoshi*

Reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steels for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) with bulk P contents ranging from 0.007 to 0.012wt.% were subjected to neutron irradiation at fluences ranging from 0.3 to 1.2$$times$$10$$^{20}$$ n/cm$$^{2}$$ (E $$>$$ 1 MeV) in PWRs or a materials testing reactor (MTR). Grain-boundary P segregation was analyzed using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) on intergranular facets and found to increase with increasing neutron fluence. A rate theory model was also used to simulate the increase in grain-boundary P segregation for RPV steels with a bulk P content up to 0.020wt.%. The increase in grain-boundary P segregation in RPV steel with a bulk P content of 0.015wt.% (the maximum P concentration found in RPV steels used in Japanese nuclear power plants intended for restart) was estimated to be less than 0.1 in monolayer coverage at 1.0$$times$$10$$^{20}$$ n/cm$$^{2}$$ (E $$>$$ 1 MeV). A comparison of the PWR data with the MTR data showed that neutron flux had no effect upon grain-boundary P segregation. The effects of grain-boundary P segregation upon changes in irradiation hardening and ductile-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) shifts were also discussed. A linear relationship between irradiation hardening and the DBTT shift with a slope of 0.63 obtained for RPV steels with a bulk P content up to 0.026wt.%, which is higher than that of most U.S. A533B steels. It is concluded that the intergranular embrittlement is unlikely to occur for RPV steels irradiated in PWRs.

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Category:Materials Science, Multidisciplinary

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