Up to now, two kinds of filler metal with or without nickel element for submerged arc welding have been largely used in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) manufacturing. In order to study the effect of nickel element on weld metal properties of SA-508 Gr.3 Cl.1, submerged arc welding material with nickel (AWS classification F8P4-EGN-F2N, F2 for short) and welding material without nickel (F8P4-EA3N-A3N, A3 for short) were used; and conventional mechanical properties, low-cycle fatigue test, and proton irradiation analysis of the two weld metals were studied. Results show that the mechanical properties of the two different weld metals are similar, except that the Charpy V-notch impact property of the weld metal with nickel is better than that without nickel; the micro-structures of F2 and A3 weld metals are both composed of ferrite base and granular bainite, but the columnar grain size of F2 weld metal is smaller relatively, which results in better impact property. In addition, the irradiated A3 weld metal has fewer dislocation loops than the irradiated F2 weld metal after the same proton irradiation dose; the irradiated weld metals both have higher micro-Vickers hardness than before.

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