2005 Volume 46 Issue 3 Pages 394-404
Reduced-activation ferritic/martensitic (RAF/M) steels have been considered to be the prime candidate for the fusion blanket structural material. The irradiation data obtained up to now indicates rather high feasibility of the steels for application to fusion reactors because of their high resistance to degradation of material performance caused by both the irradiation-induced displacement damage and transmutation helium atoms. The martensitic structure of RAF/M steels consists of a large number of lattice defects before the irradiation, which strongly retards the formation of displacement damage through absorption and annihilation of the point defects generated by irradiation. Transmutation helium can be also trapped at those defects in the martensitic structure so that the growth of helium bubbles at grain boundaries is suppressed. The major properties of the steels are well within our knowledge, and processing technologies are mostly developed for fusion application. RAF/M steels are now certainly ready to proceed to the next stage, that is, the construction of International Thermo-nuclear Experimental Reactor Test Blanket Modules (ITER-TBM).
Oxide dispersion strengthening (ODS) steels have been developed for higher thermal efficiency of fusion power plants. Recent irradiation experiments indicated that the steels were quite highly resistant to neutron irradiation embrittlement, showing hardening accompanied by no loss of ductility. High-Cr ODS steels whose chromium concentration was in the range from 14 to 19 mass% showed high resistance to corrosion in supercritical pressurized water. It is shown that the 14Cr-ODS steel is susceptible to neither hydrogen nor helium embrittlement.
A combined utilization of ODS steels with RAF/M steels will be effective to realize fusion power early at a reasonable thermal efficiency.