Collaborators: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Manchester University, National Nuclear Laboratory, Oxford University, University of New South Wales, Rolls-Royce Plc
The aim of this project is to determine the driving forces and behaviour of nano-scale solute-vacancy cluster formation, a mechanism responsible for hardening, that occurs due to neutron irradiation of reactor pressure vessel steels. The expected outcome is to achieve a mechanistic understanding of this process to support safety cases and models for pressurised water reactor life extensions. This project specifically involves the modelling and prediction of the clustering behaviour of Mn, Ni and Si, in bcc Fe, using density functional theory. Results from these models will be used in a multiscale approach to link fundamental solid state physics calculations with advanced manufacturing of steels for future reactors. Further, results from this project will allow for less conservative predictions of toughness reduction and support on-going operation for reactors beyond 60-80 years.