For sodium pipes of Japan Sodium cooled Fast Reactor (JSFR), the continuous leak monitoring will be adopted as an alternative to a volumetric test of the weld joints under conditions that satisfy Leak-Before-Break (LBB). The sodium pipes are made of ASME Gr.91 (modified 9Cr-1Mo) steel. Thickness of the pipes is small, because the internal pressure is very low. Modified 9Cr-1Mo steel has a relatively large yield stress and small work hardening coefficient comparing to the austenitic stainless steels which are currently used in the conventional plants. In order to discuss about the LBB of the sodium pipes made of modified 9Cr-1Mo steel, the coolant leak rate from a through wall crack must be estimated properly. Since the leak rate is strongly related to the crack opening displacement (COD), an appropriate COD assessment method must be established to perform LBB assessment. However, COD assessment method applicable for JSFR sodium pipes — thin wall and small work hardening material — has not been proposed yet. Therefore, the authors have proposed a COD assessment method applicable to thin walled large diameter pipe made of modified 9Cr-1Mo steel. In this method, COD is calculated by classifying into three components of elastic, local plastic and fully plastic. This paper describes the improved COD assessment method and verifies the validity of the method based on the results of a series of four-point bending tests at elevated temperature using thin wall modified 9Cr-1Mo steel pipe containing a circumferential through wall crack. As a result, COD values calculated by the proposed method were in a good agreement with the experimental results for the uniform pipe without weld. In the case that the crack was machined at weld metal or heat affected zone (HAZ), proposed method predicted relatively larger COD than the experimental results. The causes of such discrepancies were discussed comparing with the results of finite element analyses. Based on these examinations, the rational leak rate evaluation method in LBB assessment was proposed.

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