EACS 2016 paper - Revealing of the Wave-Like Process in Kinetics of the Reactor Pressure Vessel Steel Radiation Degradation
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EACS 2016 Paper No. 103
Influence of neutron irradiation on reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steel degradation are examined with reference to the possible reasons of the substantial experimental data scatter and furthermore – nonstandard (non-monotonous) and oscillatory embrittlement behavior. In our glance this phenomenon may be explained by presence of the wavelike recovering component in the embrittlement kinetics.
We suppose that the main factor affecting steel anomalous embrittlement is fast neutron intensity (dose rate or flux), flux effect manifestation depends on state-of-the-art fluence level. At low fluencies radiation degradation has to exceed normative value, then approaches to normative meaning and finally became sub normative. Data on radiation damage change including through the ex-service RPVs taking into account chemical factor, fast neutron fluence and neutron flux were obtained and analyzed.
In our opinion controversy in the estimation on neutron flux on radiation degradation impact may be explained by presence of the wavelike component in the embrittlement kinetics. Therefore flux effect manifestation depends on fluence level. At low fluencies radiation degradation has to exceed normative value, then approaches to normative meaning and finally became sub normative. As a result of dose rate effect manifestation peripheral RPV’s zones in some range of fluencies have to be damaged to a large extent than situated closely to core.
Moreover as a hypothesis we suppose that at some stages of irradiation damaged metal have to be partially restored by irradiation i.e. neutron bombardment. Nascent during irradiation structure undergo occurring once or periodically transformation in a direction both degradation and recovery of the initial properties. According to our hypothesis at some stage(s) of metal structure degradation neutron bombardment became recovering factor. Self-recovering section of RPV steel radiation embrittlement kinetics as indication of material intelligent behavior. As a result oscillation arise that in turn lead to enhanced data scatter. In this case we have to consider irradiation as a recovery factor.
For the sake of correctness it is necessary to remember that there is an example when contrary to the famous radiation embrittlement in metals neutron irradiation at some range of fast neutron doses is in position to improve both the strength and ductility of steel.
Foregoing hypothetical assumptions on “low-dose effects” in terms “radiation embrittlement contains oscillatory component” and “radiation annealing of the radiation embrittlement” is questionable and needs additional experimental verification and profound scientific study.