An important issue in the safety operation of WWER-1000 type reactor is a decrease in fracture toughness for reactor pressure vessel steels due to neutron irradiation. This effect for RPV metal is known as radiation embrittlement. The radiation induced temperature shift of the fracture toughness transition curve is considered as a measure of the embrittlement rate. The Charpy impact and fracture toughness specimens are included in the surveillance program for an assessment of changes in fracture toughness of RPV materials.
The present analysis is based on a large data set which includes mostly experimental results for pre-cracked Charpy specimens from a WWER-1000 RPV surveillance program. A Master curve approach is applied to analyze the surveillance test data with respect to a shape of the fracture toughness transition curve and a scatter of KJC values.
The RPV base and weld metal in unirradiated, thermally aged and irradiated conditions are considered in this study. The maximum shift in a reference temperature T0 due to irradiation is 107 degree Celsius. It is shown that the Master curve, 5 % and 95 % tolerance bounds describe adequately the temperature dependence and the statistical scatter of KJC values for WWER-1000 RPV steels both in unirradiated condition and after irradiation up to design as well as long term operation neutron fluence. Furthermore, a development of the Weibull plots for considered data sets is shown that the Weibull slope is close to the expected one of 4 on average. Finally, a comparison of the reference temperature T0 and a scatter of KJC values derived from the pre-cracked Charpy and 0,5T C(T) specimens of base and weld metal in unirradiated condition is done. The analysis has shown a significant discrepancy between the T0 values derived from the two different types of specimens for both RPV metals.