Evaluation of integrity and lifetime of reactor pressure vessels is usually based on fracture mechanics approach using empirical correlation between transition temperatures from impact tests and static fracture toughness test results in the form of “design curve”. Moreover, material degradation during operation is also usually monitored by impact surveillance specimen testing under the assumption that shifts in temperature dependencies if impact toughness and static fracture toughness are the same.
To verify this assumption, study of the correlation between these two shifts has been performed on WWER steels — 15Kh2MFA (Cr-Mo-V) and 15Kh2NMFA (Ni-Cr-Mo-V) types. Several sources of results have been used : (a) reconstitution of tested remains of Charpy V-notch impact test specimens from irradiated programs was performed to obtain pre-cracked Charpy size specimens for three point bending type fracture toughness testing, (b) comparison of tests results from surveillance programs irradiated by similar fluences, (c) experimental irradiation programs with accelerated irradiation in research reactor.
Additionally, some results from the recent study of irradiation embrittlement of high nickel weld are included — its behavior shows to some extraordinary tendency.
Thanks to the use of reconstitution, both series of specimen were irradiated under the same conditions — temperature and neutron fluence and comparison is reliable. Results show that transition temperatures from fracture toughness testing are larger than those from Charpy impact tests. Similar results have been obtained also for other two groups of results.