Published: Jan 2001
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Ferritic/martensitic steels are considered for use in fast fission and fusion reactors. The viability of the steels for applications in the fast fission or fusion neutron environment depends mainly on its irradiation resistance. In the preceding chapters, the effect of irradiation on various properties was presented. In addition to the irradiation conditions (e.g., fluence, spectrum, irradiation temperature, etc.), steel composition and microstructure, which depend on how a steel is processed, are important in determining irradiation resistance. As shown in the previous chapters, many of these variables have been investigated in varying degrees for different mechanical and physical properties. In general, however, detailed, single-variable irradiation studies to comprehensively investigate these parameters have not been conducted. Because of space considerations in irradiation facilities and the expense of conducting such experiments, most irradiation experiments have been restricted to one steel composition in one condition irradiated over a temperature and fluence range that is limited by the conditions of the irradiation facility. Furthermore, space limitations in irradiation facilities mean that only a limited number of miniature mechanical property specimens can be irradiated, which can cause problems in evaluating the data. For example, only four to six Charpy specimens per irradiation condition are usually irradiated, thus possibly affecting the determination of an accurate Charpy curve; and in some cases, tension specimens have not been simultaneously irradiated with Charpy impact specimens, thus making a quantitative comparison between hardening and embrittlement difficult.