In this study, the residual stresses generated within the overlay-welded cladding and base material of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steel were measured for as-welded and postwelded heat-treated conditions using the sectioning and deep-hole-drilling (DHD) techniques. In addition, thermo–elastic–plastic creep analyses considering the phase transformation in the heat-affected zone using the finite element method (FEM) were performed to evaluate the weld residual stress produced by overlay-welding and postweld heat treatment (PWHT). By comparing the analytical results with the experimentally determined values, we found a good agreement for the residual stress distribution within the cladding and the base material. The tensile residual stress in the cladding is largely due to the difference in the thermal expansion of the cladding and the base material. It was also shown that considering phase transformation during welding was important for improving the accuracy of the weld residual stress analysis. Using the calculated residual stress distribution, we performed fracture mechanics analyses for a vessel model with a postulated flaw during pressurized thermal shock (PTS) events. The effect of the weld residual stress on the structural integrity of RPVs was evaluated through some case studies. The results indicated that consideration of the weld residual stress produced by overlay-welding and PWHT is important for assessing the structural integrity of RPVs.

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