The identification of the PWSCC (Primary Water Stress Corrosion Cracking) mechanism responsible for leakage from an Alloy 600 nozzle tube of a PWR RPV (pressurized water reactor reactor pressure vessel) head more than a decade ago led to a significant body of research into understanding the phenomenon and to development of bases for safely managing primary pressure boundary integrity. However, the relatively recent experience at Davis-Besse, wherein penetration leakage resulted in significant vessel head material wastage, led to the heretofore unconsidered issue of vessel failure risk due to head rupture. This paper addresses, in preliminary fashion, one key input to determining the risk associated with head material wastage and potential rupture — the local environmental and fluid conditions associated with a range of leak paths. The results indicate a need for rigorous prediction of fluid conditions for a range of leak situations to help establish criteria for addressing penetration leaks.

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