A correlation is attempted between microstructural observations by various complementary techniques, which have been implemented within the PERFECT project and the hardening measured by tensile tests of reactor pressure vessel steel and model alloys after irradiation to a dose of similar to 7 x 10^19 n/cm². This is done, using the simple hardening model embodied by the Orowan equation and applying the most suitable superposition law, as suggested by a parametric study using the DUPAIR line tension code. It is found that loops are very strong obstacles to dislocation motion, but due to their low concentration, they only play a minor role in the hardening itself. For the precipitates, the contrary is found, although they are quite soft (due to their very small sizes and their coherent nature), they still play the dominant role in the hardening. Vacancy clusters are important for the formation of both loops and precipitates, but they will play almost no role in the hardening by themselves.