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November 16–19, 2020
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Fusion Science and Technology
U.S. reactor technologies to be featured at IAEA conference
A virtual side event at the 64th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency will spotlight U.S. reactor technologies. The free event, US Reactor Technologies: Flexible Energy Security for Real-World Challenges, will be held this Thursday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (EDT).
The event will highlight the capabilities of small modular reactors and other innovative reactors for addressing countries’ current needs. It will also examine anticipated challenges in the future, as well as underscore the need to act now.
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Advanced registration is required.
Michael J. Morgan, Dale A. Hitchcock, Timothy M. Krentz, Scott L. West
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 76 | Number 3 | April 2020 | Pages 209-214
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2019.1704138
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The long-term embrittlement effects of tritium and decay helium on the structural properties of stainless steels have been studied for years at Savannah River National Laboratory (Savannah River) to provide required data for establishing safe operating conditions and the lifetimes of the pressure vessels used to contain tritium gas. In this study, the fracture toughness properties of the longest-aged tritium-precharged stainless steel base metals and weldments tested at Savannah River were measured and compared to earlier results. The fracture toughness values were the lowest recorded here for tritium-exposed stainless steel. As-forged and as-welded specimens were thermally precharged with tritium gas at 34.5 MPa and 623 K, then aged for up to 17 years to build in decay helium prior to testing. American Society for Testing and Materials J-integral fracture mechanics analyses, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) examinations were conducted to characterize the effects of tritium and its radioactive decay product 3He. Results show that the fracture toughness values were reduced to less than 2% to 4% of the as-forged values for specimens with more than 1300 atomic parts per million helium from tritium decay. The trend of decreasing fracture toughness values with increasing helium content was consistent with earlier observations, and the data show that Type 304L stainless steel is more resistant to tritium-induced cracking than Type 21-6-9 stainless steel at similar decay helium levels. The fracture toughness properties of long-aged weldments were also affected, but the reductions were not as severe over time because the weldments did not retain as much tritium as did the base metals. TEM observations were used to characterize the effects of decay helium bubbles on the deformation substructures, but nanometer-sized helium bubbles were not easily resolved because of high dislocation densities within the forged microstructures. SANS results are presented that suggest the technique can provide information on decay helium bubble size, spacing, and distribution in these steels.