Elastic-plastic toughness characterization of SA533B nuclear pressure vessel steel is described in terms of the J integral approach. A simple test procedure has been proposed from which the JIC value at crack extension can be estimated for both unirradiated and irradiated steels using a single compact tension specimen. The values of JIC determined by the proposed method are compared with those determined by the single specimen compliance method. The JIC fracture toughness of the pressure vessel steel irradiated at 200°C to a neutron flux density ranging from 6.2 × 1017 to 2.34 × 1019 n/cm2 (E>1 MeV) has been explored for different test temperatures. It is shown that irradiation significantly reduces the JIC fracture toughness of this material. These results are compared with the data available in the literature.

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