Volume 7, Issue 3 (March 2010)
Embrittlement Correlation Method for the Japanese Reactor Pressure Vessel Materials
A new embrittlement correlation method developed for the Japanese reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steels is presented. The Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry and the Japanese electric utilities conducted a project to develop a new embrittlement correlation method for the Japanese RPV steels based on the understandings on the mechanisms of the RPV embrittlement. In addition to the information from the literatures, we generated new information by characterizing the microstructural changes in the surveillance materials of the Japanese commercial reactors. We found that in low Cu materials, solute atom clusters containing little or no Cu atoms are formed at relatively low fluence of 3×1019 n/cm2, E>1 MeV. The volume fraction of the solute atom clusters has a good correlation with the Charpy transition temperature shift regardless of the Cu content. We also found that the microstructure of the boiling water reactor surveillance material is different from that of the archive material irradiated in material testing reactor. The understandings on the RPV embrittlement mechanisms were formulated using a set of rate equations, and the coefficients of the equations were optimized using the ΔRTNDT values of the Japanese surveillance database. This method considers the effect of neutron flux. Only one set of coefficients was developed, and they are independent of the product form. Predictions of the new embrittlement correlation method were compared with those of the recent U.S. correlation method as well as the U.S. surveillance data. The comparison shows the characteristics of the present method.