Austenitic stainless steel is cladded on the inner surface of ferritic low alloy steel of reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) for protecting the vessel walls against the corrosion. After the manufacturing process of the RPVs including weld-overlay cladding and post-weld heat treatments (PWHT), the residual stress still remain in such dissimilar welds. The residual stresses generated within the cladding and base material were measured as-welded and PWHT conditions using the sectioning and deep-hole-drilling (DHD) techniques. Thermal-elastic-plastic-creep analyses considering the phase transformation in heat affected zone using finite element method were also performed to evaluate the weld residual stress produced by weld overlay cladding and PWHT. By comparing analytical results with those measured ones, it was shown that there was a good agreement of residual stress distribution within the cladding and base material. Tensile residual stress in cladding is mostly due to the difference between the thermal expansions of cladding and base materials. It was also shown that taking the phase transformation during welding into account is important to improve the accuracy of weld residual stress analysis. Using the calculated residual stress distribution, fracture mechanics analysis for a postulated flaw during pressurized thermal shock (PTS) events have been performed. The effect of weld residual stress on the structural integrity of RPV was evaluated through some case studies. The result indicates that consideration of weld residual stress produced by weld-overlay cladding and PWHT is important for assessing the structural integrity of RPVs.

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