Radioactive wastes are confined in 49 underground storage tanks at the Savannah River Site. The tanks are examined by ultrasonic (UT) methods for thinning, pitting, and stress corrosion cracking in order to assess fitness-for-service. During an inspection in 2002, ten cracks were identified on one of the tanks. Given the location of the cracks (i.e., adjacent to welds, weld attachments, and weld repairs), fabrication details (e.g., this tank was not stress-relieved), and the service history the degradation mechanism was stress corrosion cracking. Crack instability calculations utilizing API-579 guidance were performed to show that the combination of expected future service condition hydrostatic and tensile weld residual stresses do not drive any of the identified cracks to instability. The cracks were re-inspected in 2007 to determine if crack growth had occurred. During this re-examination, one indication that was initially reported as a “possible perpendicular crack <25% through wall” in 2002, was clearly shown not to be a crack. Additionally, examination of a new area immediately adjacent to other cracks along a vertical weld revealed three new cracks. It is not known when these new cracks formed as they could very well have been present in 2002 as well. Therefore, a total of twelve cracks were evaluated during the re-examination. Comparison of the crack lengths measured in 2002 and 2007 revealed that crack growth had occurred in four of the nine previously measured cracks. The crack length extension ranged from 0.25 to 1.8 inches. However, in all cases the cracks still remained within the tensile weld residual stress zone (i.e., within two to three inches of the weld). The impact of the cracks that grew on the future service of Tank 15 was reassessed. API-579 crack instability calculations were again performed based on expected future service conditions and trended crack growth rates for the future tank service cycle. The analysis showed that the combined hydrostatic and tensile weld residual stresses do not drive the identified cracks to instability. This tank expected to be decommissioned in the near future. However, if these plans are delayed, it was recommended that a third examination of selected cracks in the tank be performed in 2014.

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