Abstract Radiation-induced embrittlement of bainitic steels is the lifetime limiting factor of reactor pressure vessels in existing nuclear light water reactors. The primary mechanism of embrittlement is the obstruction of dislocation motion by nano-metric defects in the bulk of the material due to irradiation. Such features are known to be solute clusters that may be attached to point defect clusters. In this work we study the thermal stability of solute clusters near edge dislocation lines and loops with Burgers vector b=½ and b= in FeNiMnCu model alloys by means of Metropolis Monte Carlo simulations. It is concluded that small dislocation loops may indeed act as points for heterogeneous nucleation of solute precipitates in reactor pressure vessel steels and increase their thermodynamic stability up to and above normal reactor operating temperatures. We also found that, in the presence of dislocation-type defects, the Ni content determines the thermodynamic driving force for precipitation, rather than the Mn content.