The effect of neutron irradiation damage of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steels is a main failure mode. Accelerated neutron irradiation experiments at 292 °C were conducted on RPV steels, followed by testing of the mechanical, electrical and magnetic properties for both the unirradiated and irradiated steels in a hot laboratory. The results showed that a significant increase in the strength, an obvious decrease in toughness, a corresponding increase in resistivity, and the clockwise turn of the hysteresis loops, resulting in a slight decrease in saturation magnetization when the RPV steel irradiation damage reached 0.0409 dpa; at the same time, the variation rate of the resistivity between the irradiated and unirradiated RPV steels shows good agreement with the variation rates of the mechanical properties parameters, such as nano-indentation hardness, ultimate tensile strength, yield strength at 0.2% offset, upper shelf energy and reference nil ductility transition temperature. Thus, as a complement to destructive mechanical testing, the resistivity variation can be used as a potentially non-destructive evaluation technique for the monitoring of the RPV steel irradiation damage of operational nuclear power plants.

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