An alignment plate that is attached to a core barrel of a pressurized water reactor and fits within slots within a top plate of a lower core shroud and upper core plate to maintain lateral alignment of the reactor internals. The alignment plate is connected to the core barrel through two vertically-spaced dowel pins that extend from the outside surface of the core barrel through a reinforcement pad and into corresponding holes in the alignment plate. Additionally, threaded fasteners are inserted around the perimeter of the reinforcement pad and into the alignment plate to further secure the alignment plate to the core barrel. A fillet weld also is deposited around the perimeter of the reinforcement pad. To accommodate thermal growth between the alignment plate and the core barrel, a gap is left above, below and at both sides of one of the dowel pins in the alignment plate holes through which the dowel pins pass.