The effects of neutron irradiation on the microstructure of welded joints made of austenitic stainless steels have been investigated. The materials were welded AISI 304 and AISI 347, so-called test weld materials, and irradiated with neutrons at 300 degrees C to 0.3 and 1.0 dpa. In addition, an AISI 304 type from a decommissioned pressurised water reactor, so-called in-service material, which had accumulated a maximum dose of 0.35 dpa at about 300 degrees C, was investigated. The microstructure of heat-affected zones and base materials was analysed before and after irradiation, using transmission electron microscopy. Neutron diffraction was performed for internal stress measurements. It was found that the heat-affected zone contains, relative to the base material, a higher dislocation density, which relates well to a higher residual stress level and, after irradiation, a higher irradiation-induced defect density. In both materials, the irradiation-induced defects are of the same type, consisting in black dots and Frank dislocation loops. Careful analysis of the irradiation-induced defect contrast was performed and it is explained why no stacking fault tetrahedra could be identified. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.