Large bolts manufactured from SA540 Grades B23 and B24 are used on nuclear reactor vessels and require certain minimum mechanical properties. A minimum fracture toughness of 125 ksi in. (137 MPa m) at maximum operating stresses is required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for these bolts. This minimum toughness property was determined by a stress analysis of a bolt. Minimum required Charpy impact properties were calculated by a fracture toughness-Charpy impact energy correlation and the minimum calculated fracture toughness. The fracture toughness, yield strength and Charpy V notch impact properties were determined for five commercial heats of SA540 steels. Correlations between the fracture toughness and Charpy impact properties of these materials were evaluated. The toughness-impact energy correlation used to set the minimum required Charpy impact properties was found to be unduly conservative, and a different correlation of these properties is suggested. The SA540 steels investigated exhibited fracture toughness properties in excess of the NRC minimum requirements.

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