Section III of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code requires radiographic testing (RT) of pressure boundary welds. RT is performed to detect flaws that might be created in welds as they are fabricated. Current Section III acceptance standards require rejection and repair of flaw indications characterized as cracks, lack of fusion, or incomplete penetration regardless of the size of the indication or the structural significance of such indications on fitness for service (FFS). The current Section III requirements have been effective in meeting the design objective of preventing pressure boundary failures. However, the rules are sufficiently conservative that not only are structurally significant flaws excluded, but they also exclude more benign indications that have no impact on structural integrity. This approach has resulted in repairs for even minor flaws that have no FFS impact. In addition to the cost of performing these unnecessary repairs, the repairs may have contributed to service induced cracking because of the higher residual stresses from the repair. Clearly, there is a need to revisit the Section III inspection and repair rules so as to distinguish between structurally unacceptable flaws and benign flaws that have no FFS impact. This paper describes the technical basis for the proposed Section III Code Case that uses the FFS approach to eliminate the need for weld repairs for minor flaws that have been shown to have no structural impact. Specifically, the Code Case will provide the option to use qualified volumetric inspection to size the flaw indications accurately and define acceptance criteria to determine flaw sizes that are judged to have little structural significance. In addition to describing the requirements of the proposed Code Case, this paper also describes the technical basis for the flaw acceptance criteria and the results of ultrasonic (UT) qualification testing to demonstrate the capability to detect and characterize fabrication flaw indications.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.