Neutron-flux effects on irradiation-induced hardening and microstructures in a reactor pressure vessel steel were studied. An A533B-type steel containing no Cu was neutron-irradiated with fluxes of 1 × 1014 n/cm2/s (high-flux) or 1 × 1012 n/cm2/s (low-flux) to the same fluence of approximately 3 × 1019 n/cm2, and the same temperature of approximately 290 °C. The recovery behavior of irradiation-induced defects and irradiation-hardening, ΔHv, was investigated by post-irradiation isochronal annealing from 275 to 450 °C. In both the high- and low-flux cases, the recovery behavior of ΔHv and the average positron lifetime, τave, corresponded well to the annealing, suggesting that defects in which positrons are trapped are the origin of irradiation-hardening. The values of ΔHv and τave in the high-flux sample started to recover at around 350 °C, while those in the low-flux sample started to recover at around 400 °C. Thus, in the high-flux sample, unstable defects transiently existing at low temperature but annealed out at around 350 °C, are indicated. Such defects are suggested to be defect-(Mn, Ni, Si) complexes, where the nature of the defect is that of a mono-vacancy and/or dislocation loops.
- Neutron flux effects
- Positron annihilation
- Reactor pressure vessel steels