When the flaws are detected in Japanese nuclear power components by in-service inspection, structural integrity assessment are performed in the technical judgment on continuous service. If cyclic loading is assumed, fatigue crack growth analysis should be conducted based on the Rules on Fitness-for-Service for Nuclear Power Plants of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Code (JSME FFS Code). However, fatigue crack growth analysis for BWR components consisting of Ni-base alloy is currently impossible, since the reference curve of fatigue crack growth rate for Ni-base alloy in BWR water environment is not yet prescribed in the JSME FFS Code.

In this study, fatigue crack growth behavior of Ni-base alloy used for Japanese BWR plants in BWR water environment was investigated. Based on the experimental data, the fatigue crack growth rate curve was evaluated. Four test parameters of material, corrosion potential, stress ratio and load rising time were considered. As a result of fatigue crack growth tests, the effects of all test parameters on the fatigue crack growth behavior were found. A Mean curve of fatigue crack growth rate in Paris law format, which was a function of stress ratio and rising time, was formulated based on crack growth data in normal water chemistry (corrosion potential was over 150 mVSHE) for weld metal and heat affected zone (HAZ), respectively. A reference curve of fatigue crack growth rate was also formulated by the statistical treatment considering the scatter of crack growth rate.

Further, in order to determine the threshold stress intensity factor range ΔKth of reference curve of fatigue crack growth, ΔK decreasing tests were conducted under the test condition of 1 second of rising time. As a result, the threshold value of ΔK was evaluated based on the ASTM E 647, and the ΔKth of the reference curve was conservatively determined considering the margin.

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