After two decades of operation, austenitic stainless steel Control Element Drive Mechanism (CEDM) seal housings at a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) nuclear plant experienced Transgranular Stress Corrosion Cracking (TGSCC). In order to prevent the same cracking from occurring at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, a preventative program was initiated in 1999. All 37 CEDM seal housings have been inspected by using WesDyne Intraspect pancake and plus point eddy current probes. Examination of the eddy current data found that TGSCC was associated with localized areas of higher permeability (confirmed with a magnetometer). In order to quantitatively analyze the data, the normalized value from signal amplitude was defined as the arithmetic ratio between the absolute measurement of local permeability value (amplitude) and the eddy current signal value (amplitude) for the calibration standard axial notch. The data showed that in failed seal housings the normalized amplitudes were about three times greater than in non-cracked housings. Higher permeabilities were associated with cracked locations. The eddy current methodology therefore provides an empirical criterion to monitor when locally higher surface material permeability changes occur in order to determine the onset of TGSCC.

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