Typically in flaw evaluation procedures, idealized flaw shapes are assumed for both subcritical crack growth and critical crack stability analyses. Past NRC-sponsored research have developed estimation schemes for predicting the load-carrying capacity of idealized flaws in nuclear grade piping and similar metal welds at the operating conditions of nuclear power reactors. However, recent analyses have shown that growth of primary water stress corrosion cracks (PWSCC) in dissimilar metal (DM) welds is not ideal; in fact, very unusual complex crack shapes may form, i.e., a very long surface crack that has a finite length through-wall crack in the same plane. Even though some experimental data on base metal cracks exist to demonstrate that complex shaped cracks in high toughness materials fail under limit load conditions, other experiments demonstrate that the tearing resistance is significantly reduced. At this point, no experimental data exists for complex cracks in DM welds. In addition, it is unclear whether the idealized estimation schemes developed can be used to predict the load carrying capacity of these complex-shaped flaws, even though they have been used in past analyses by the nuclear industry. Finally, it is unclear what material strength data should be used to assess the stability of a crack in a DM weld. The NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES), with their contractor Battelle Memorial Institute, has begun an experimental program to confirm the stability behavior of these complex shaped flaws in DM welds. A combination of thirteen full-scale pipe experiments and a variety of laboratory experiments are planned. This paper will summarize the past base metal complex-cracked pipe experiments, and the current idealized flaw load carrying capacity estimation schemes. In addition, the DM weld complex cracked pipe experimental test matrix will be presented. Finally, plans for using these results to confirm the applicability of idealized flaw stability procedures are discussed.

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