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Radiation Damage of Reactor Pressure Vessel Steels Studied by Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy—A Review


Safe and long term operation of nuclear reactors is one of the most discussed challenges in nuclear power engineering. The radiation degradation of nuclear design materials limits the operational lifetime of all nuclear installations or at least decreases its safety margin. This paper is a review of experimental PALS/PLEPS studies of different nuclear reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steels investigated over last twenty years in our laboratories. Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS) via its characteristics (lifetimes of positrons and their intensities) provides useful information about type and density of radiation induced defects. The new results obtained on neutron-irradiated and hydrogen ions implanted German steels were compared to those from the previous studies with the aim to evaluate different processes (neutron flux/fluence, thermal treatment or content of selected alloying elements) to the microstructural changes of neutron irradiated RPV steel specimens. The possibility of substitution of neutron treatment (connected to new defects creation) via hydrogen ions implantation was analyzed as well. The same materials exposed to comparable displacement damage (dpa) introduced by neutrons and accelerated hydrogen ions shown that in the results interpretation the effect of hydrogen as a vacancy-stabilizing gas must be considered, too. This approach could contribute to future studies of nuclear fission/fusion design steels treated by high levels of neutron irradiation.

Funding source: EGA 1/0104/17 and by Slovak Research Agency (project 313011U413 in frame of OPVaI-VA/DP/2018/1.1.2-01).
Countries: Germany ; Slovak Republic

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