Flaw evaluation for nuclear power plants is conducted on the basis of a fitness-for-service code. For instance, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section XI (ASME Section XI) and the JSME Rules on Fitness-for-Service for Nuclear Power Plants (JSME Code) prescribe a flaw evaluation procedure. In flaw evaluation, an aspect ratio of a detected surface crack is defined by a/l, where a is the crack depth and l is the crack length, and the aspect ratio a/l does not exceed 0.5. Therefore, a deep surface crack, which has an aspect ratio a/l greater than 0.5, is characterized as a semicircle with l = 2a. Meanwhile, deep surface cracks caused by stress corrosion cracking (SCC) have been detected in the Ni based alloy weld metal. Since the limit of the flaw characterization rule which is an aspect ratio a/l ≤ 0.5 seems to conduct to a conservative evaluation result for a deep surface crack, more rational and applicable flaw evaluation is required in order to eliminate surplus conservatism.

In this study, a flaw evaluation procedure based on ASME Section XI or JSME Code is extended to deal with a deep surface crack. To evaluate crack growth behavior for a deep surface crack, coefficients to calculate stress intensity factors were evaluated by finite element analysis (FEA) and shown in tabular form on the basis of equations prescribed in ASME Section XI and JSME Code. To verify the applicability of proposed coefficients to crack growth evaluation, SCC crack growth behavior for a deep initial crack was evaluated by coefficients applied to the ASME Section XI procedure and a detailed FEA method. Applicability of coefficients to crack growth evaluation was verified through comparisons of crack growth behaviors for deep surface crack under various stress fields.

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