According to Appendix L of the BPVC Section XI, flaw tolerance assessment is performed using the stress intensity factor even for low-cycle fatigue. On the other hand, in Section III, the fatigue damage is assessed using the design fatigue curve, which has been determined from strain-based fatigue tests. Namely, the stress is used for the flaw tolerance assessment, whereas the strain (Ke factor) is quoted for the design. In order to resolve this inconsistency, in the present study, the strain intensity factor was used for crack growth prediction. First, it was shown that the strain range was the key parameter for predicting the fatigue life and crack growth. The crack growth rates correlated well with the strain intensity factor even for the low-cycle fatigue. Then, the strain intensity factor was applied to predict the crack growth under uniform and thermal cyclic loading conditions. The estimated fatigue life for the uniform cyclic loading condition agreed well with that obtained by the low-cycle fatigue tests, while the fatigue life estimated for the cyclic thermal loading condition was longer. It was shown that the inspection result of “no crack” can be reflected to determining the future inspection time by applying the flaw tolerance analysis. It was concluded that the flaw tolerance concept is applicable not only to the plant maintenance but also to plant design. The fatigue damage assessment using the design fatigue curve can be replaced with the crack growth prediction.

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