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Title: Evolution of Nickel-Manganese-Silicon Dominated Phases in Highly Irradiated Reactor Pressure Vessel Steels

Formation of a high density of Ni-Mn-Si nm-scale precipitates in irradiated reactor pressure vessel steels, both with and without Cu, could lead to severe embrittlement. Models long ago predicted that these precipitates, which are not treated in current embrittlement regulations, would emerge only at high fluence. However, the mechanisms and variables that control Ni-Mn- Si precipitate formation, and their detailed characteristics, have not been well understood. High flux irradiations of six steels with systematic variations in Cu and Ni were carried out at ˜ 295±5°C to high and very high neutron fluences of ˜ 1.3x1020 and 1.1x1021 n/cm2. Atom probe tomography (APT) shows that significant mole fractions of these precipitates form in the Cu bearing steels at ˜ 1.3x1020 n/cm2, while they are only beginning to develop in Cu-free steels. However, large mole fractions, far in excess of those found in previous studies, are observed at 1.1x1021 n/cm2 at all Cu levels. The precipitates diffract, and in one case are compositionally and structurally consistent with the Mn6Ni16Si7 G-phase. At the highest fluence, the large precipitate mole fractions primarily depend on the steel Ni content, rather than Cu, and lead to enormous strength increases up to about 700 MPa. The implicationsmore » of these results to light water reactor life extension are discussed briefly.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials; Journal Volume: 80
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS Atom Probe Tomography; Irradiation Embrittlement; Radiation Damage