Brittle fracture initiation in decommissioned boiling water reactor pressure vessel head weld

Zaiqing Que (Corresponding Author), Matti Lindroos (Corresponding Author), Jari Lydman, Noora Hytönen, Sebastian Lindqvist, Pål Efsing, Pekka Nevasmaa, Pentti Arffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The brittle fracture initiation behavior and fracture toughness in the ductile-to-brittle transition region for a thermally-aged weld metal of a decommissioned reactor pressure vessel head (in operation at 288 °C for 23 effective full power years) and in the non-aged reference condition were investigated. The results show that brittle fracture initiated primarily from non-metallic inclusions. The correlation between fracture toughness and brittle fracture initiation type (inclusion debonding or breakage), initiator size, initiation location (as-welded or re-heated regions in the weld metal) were analysed. Despite that thermal ageing does not affect significantly the fracture toughness, it could promote the debonding as a brittle fracture primary initiation type. The influence of debonded inclusion on the evolution of cumulative damage and brittle fracture initiation was assessed using crystal plasticity modelling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153925
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The authors gratefully acknowledge the SAFIR2022 BRUTE project (Barsebäck RPV material used for true evaluation of embrittlement) and ENTENTE project (Euratom research and training programme 2019–2020 under grant agreement No. 900018) for funding the study. The authors thank the BREDA program (Barsebäck Research and Development Arena) for providing the research material. The contributions and discussions with U. Ehrnstén from VTT, M. Boåsen from KTH and Kristina Lindgren from CUT are acknowledged.


  • Brittle fracture
  • Inclusion
  • Initiation
  • Reactor pressure vessel
  • Toughness
  • Weld metal


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