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Title: Creep of A508/533 Pressure Vessel Steel

ABSTRACT Evaluation of potential Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) steels has been carried out as part of the pre-conceptual Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) design studies. These design studies have generally focused on American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code status of the steels, temperature limits, and allowable stresses. Initially, three candidate materials were identified by this process: conventional light water reactor (LWR) RPV steels A508 and A533, 2¼Cr-1Mo in the annealed condition, and Grade 91 steel. The low strength of 2¼Cr-1Mo at elevated temperature has eliminated this steel from serious consideration as the VHTR RPV candidate material. Discussions with the very few vendors that can potentially produce large forgings for nuclear pressure vessels indicate a strong preference for conventional LWR steels. This preference is based in part on extensive experience with forging these steels for nuclear components. It is also based on the inability to cast large ingots of the Grade 91 steel due to segregation during ingot solidification, thus restricting the possible mass of forging components and increasing the amount of welding required for completion of the RPV. Grade 91 steel is also prone to weld cracking and must be post-weld heat treated to ensure adequate high-temperature strength. Theremore » are also questions about the ability to produce, and very importantly, verify the through thickness properties of thick sections of Grade 91 material. The availability of large components, ease of fabrication, and nuclear service experience with the A508 and A533 steels strongly favor their use in the RPV for the VHTR. Lowering the gas outlet temperature for the VHTR to 750°C from 950 to 1000°C, proposed in early concept studies, further strengthens the justification for this material selection. This steel is allowed in the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code for nuclear service up to 371°C (700°F); certain excursions above that temperature are allowed by Code Case N-499-2 (now incorporated as an appendix to Section III Division 5 of the Code). This Code Case was developed with a rather sparse data set and focused primarily on rolled plate material (A533 specification). Confirmatory tests of creep behavior of both A508 and A533 are described here that are designed to extend the database in order to build higher confidence in ensuring the structural integrity of the VHTR RPV during off-normal conditions. A number of creep-rupture tests were carried out at temperatures above the 371°C (700°F) Code limit; longer term tests designed to evaluate minimum creep behavior are ongoing. A limited amount of rupture testing was also carried out on welded material. All of the rupture data from the current experiments is compared to historical values from the testing carried out to develop Code Case N-499-2. It is shown that the A508/533 basemetal tested here fits well with the rupture behavior reported from the historical testing. The presence of weldments significantly reduces the time to rupture. The primary purpose of this report is to summarize and record the experimental results in a single document.« less
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Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States