There have been incidents recently where cracking has been observed in the bi-metallic welds that join the hot leg to the reactor pressure vessel nozzle. The hot leg pipes are typically large diameter, thick wall pipes. Typically, an inconel weld metal is used to join the ferritic pressure vessel steel to the stainless steel pipe. The cracking, mainly confined to the inconel weld metal, is caused by corrosion mechanisms. Tensile weld residual stresses, in addition to service loads, contribute to PWSCC (Primary Water Stress Corrosion Cracking) crack growth. In addition to the large diameter hot leg pipe, cracking in other piping components of different sizes has been observed. For instance, surge lines and spray line cracking has been observed that has been attributed to this degradation mechanism. Here we present some models which are used to predict the PWSCC behavior in nuclear piping. This includes weld model solutions of bimetal pipe welds along with an example calculation of PWSCC crack growth in a hot leg. Risk based considerations are also discussed.

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