9Cr-1Mo-V steel, which was developed for application as a steam generator for fast breed reactors in the 1970s, has a higher strength at high temperatures and has been used for equipment and piping systems in the fossil power industries. ASME, Section VIII, Division 2  gives 9Cr-1Mo-V steel a maximum design temperature of 649°C and an operating temperature of 500°C. And it has higher allowable stresses at 450°C or over, compared to 2¼Cr-1Mo-V steel. Therefore, if this material can be used, more economical pressure vessels operating at 454–500°C can be designed and manufactured.
In our previous study for base metal, a large forged shell ring of 9Cr-1Mo-V steel was manufactured and for base metal welding, cracking susceptibilities and weldability were investigated. For overlay, welding consumables with high resistance to sigma phase embrittlement were developed . In this study, highly efficient welding consumables for tandem SAW designed for circumferential welding of heavy wall shells were developed and welding using the full-scaled shell ring was demonstrated, and then the mechanical properties of the weld metal were evaluated. Results indicated that, regardless of the weld thickness, a minimum of 8 hours postweld heat treatment (PWHT) at 745°C was required to meet hardness and toughness requirements for conventional reactors. The strength of the materials can comply with the Code requirements after 3 cycles of PWHT considering the PWHT in fabrication and after weld repair.
Furthermore, the following new Code Cases and Code revision were proposed and approved in order that pressure vessels can be designed in accordance with ASME, Section VIII, Division 2.
• New Code Case for Fatigue Evaluation
• New Code Case to apply SA-336-F91 in ASME Section VIII, Division 2
• Revision of Table 5A to add SA-336-F91
As a result, it has become possible to design and manufacture refining reactors to operate at 454–500°C.