The nanostructural evolution of irradiation-induced Cu-rich nanoprecipitates (CRNPs) and vacancy clusters in surveillance test specimens of in-service commercial nuclear reactor pressure vessel steel welds of Doel-1 and Doel-2 are revealed by combining the three-dimensional local electrode atom probe and positron annihilation techniques. In both medium (0.13 wt.%) and high (0.30 wt.%) Cu welds, the CRNPs are found to form readily at the very beginning of the reactor lifetime. Thereafter, during the subsequent 30 years of operation, the residual Cu concentration in the matrix shows a slight decrease while the CRNPs coarsen. On the other hand, small vacancy clusters of V3-V4 start appearing after the initial Cu precipitation and accumulate steadily with increasing neutron dose. The observed nanostructural evolution is shown to provide unique and fundamental information about the mechanisms of the irradiation-induced embrittlement of these specific materials.
- Positron annihilation (PAL)
- Three-dimensional atom probe (3D-AP)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys