In February 2001, a routine visual inspection of the reactor vessel head of Oconee Nuclear Station Unit 3 identified boric acid crystals at nine of sixty-nine locations where control rod drive mechanism housings (CRDM nozzles) penetrate the head. The boric acid deposits resulted from primary coolant leaking from cracks in the nozzle attachment weld and from through-thickness cracks in the nozzle wall. A general overview of the inspection and repair process is presented and results of the metallurgical analysis are discussed in more detail. The analysis confirmed that primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) is the mechanism of failure of both the Alloy 182 weld filler material and the alloy 600 wrought base material.

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