Abstract The 9Cr-1MoVNb and 12Cr-1MoVW steels were austenitized at 1040 and 1100°C to produce different prior austenite grain sizes, after which they were given different tempering treatments (1 h at 760°C or 2.5 h at 780°C). Subsize Charpy impact specimens from these materials were irradiated at 365°C up to 5 dpa. For 9Cr-1MoVNb steel in the unirradiated condition, the smaller the prior austenite grain size and the higher the tempering temperature, the lower the ductile-brittle transition temperature (DBTT). Regardless of the DBTT in the unirradiated condition, however, the DBTT shift for 9Cr-1MoVNb steel due to irradiation was the same for all heat treatments. This means heat treatment can be used to ensure a lower DBTT before and after irradiation. The 12Cr-1MoVW steel showed little effect of heat treatment on DBTT in the unirradiated condition, and the shift in DBTT was relatively constant. Thus, it appears that heat treatment cannot be used to reduce the effect of irradiation on DBTT for this steel.