Presently available data on neutron irradiation damage raise doubts on the feasibility of using EUROFER97 steel for a water-cooled starter blanket in a DEMO reactor, since the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) increases significantly for irradiation temperatures below 350.C. The additional DBTT shift caused by H and He transmutation can only be estimated based on very few results with isotopically tailored EUROFER97 steel.
Conservative calculations show that the DBTT of EUROFER97 steel could exceed the operating temperature in water-cooled starter blankets within a relatively short time period. This paper presents results from a EUROfusion funded irradiation campaign that was performed in the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National
Laboratory. The paper compares ten newly developed reduced activation ferritic-martensitic (RAFM) steels irradiated to a nominal dose of 2.5 dpa at 300.C. The post-irradiation experiments using Small Specimen Test Technology included hardness, tensile, and fracture mechanics tests combined with fractography and microstructure
analysis are presented. Results show that micro-alloying EUROFER97-type steels influenced the mechanical properties but a dominating impact on irradiation damage resistance could not be identified. In contrast, specific thermo-mechanical treatments lead to better DBTT behavior. Discussion about irradiation response to heat treatment conditions is also given. Despite requiring data also at high dpa values, the results indicate that with these modified materials an increased lifetime and potentially also an increased operating temperature window can be achieved compared to EUROFER97.