Project PISA: Phosphorus Influence on Steel Ageing
Abstract: The integrity of the pressure vessel is vital to the safe operation of a nuclear reactor. It is therefore necessary to monitor or predict the changes in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) material during operation. Exposure to irradiation (or elevated temperatures) causes the segregation of phosphorus to internal grain boundaries in RPV steels. This, in turn, encourages brittle intergranular failure of the material. The PISA project had the objective of reducing the uncertainties associated with the impact of this failure mechanism on the properties of the RPV, both during service and at the end-of-life. This report presents the experimental results on the segregation of P and C during irradiation and thermal treatments, and the associated mechanical property changes, generated within PISA. The new data cover a range of bulk P levels, irradiation temperatures and fluences, steel types and product forms. In all cases only modest increases of P level on the grain boundary have been observed in commercial steels. Segregation is higher in pre-strained than in unstrained material. In addition a model for P segregation under irradiation has been developed, and shown to be capable of fitting the experimentally observed changes in P level after irradiation. Significant insight into the development of the microstructure under irradiation has thereby been obtained. Overall, the data and modelling together indicated that relatively small amounts of segregation are likely to occur under most reactor operational conditions in homogeneous commercial steels, and an (unexpectedly) small amount of additional embrittlement likely to derive from this process during reactor service. How to obtain EU publications Our priced publications are available from EU Bookshop (http://bookshop.europa.eu), where you can place an order with the sales agent of your choice. The Publications Office has a worldwide network of sales agents. You can obtain their contact details by sending a fax to (352) 29 29-42758. The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or national.