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The Effect of Low Dose Rate Radiation on the Microchemistry of 304 Stainless Steel

  • T. R. Allen (a1), J. I. Cole (a1) and E. A. Kenik (a2)

Abstract

As part of the shutdown of the EBR-II reactor, structural materials were retrieved to analyze the effect of long term, low dose rate irradiation. In this work, the effect of low dose rate (10 to 10−9 dpa/s) irradiation on grain boundary and void surface chemistry is analyzed. These dose rates are comparable to those in light water reactor structural components. The components were irradiated at 375-379°C, temperatures near the highest temperatures experienced in pressurized water reactors. Radiation-induced segregation (RIS) was measured on samples taken from 304 stainless steel hex ducts irradiated to doses between 10 and 12 dpa. Radiation-induced segregation is shown to vary with dose rate, with measured grain boundary chromium concentrations reaching as low as 5 at. % and nickel concentrations reaching as high as 33 at. %. For some radiation conditions, significant grain boundary precipitation occurs, possibly leaving components susceptible to environmental attack.

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