A typical multipurpose canister (MPC) is made of austenitic stainless steel and is loaded with spent nuclear fuel assemblies. The canister may be subject to service-induced degradation when it is exposed to aggressive atmospheric environments during a possibly long-term storage period if the permanent repository is yet to be identified and readied. Because heat treatment for stress relief is not required for the construction of an MPC, stress corrosion cracking may be initiated on the canister surface in the welds or in the heat affected zone. An acceptance criteria methodology is being developed for flaw disposition should the crack-like defects be detected by periodic Inservice Inspection. The first-order instability flaw sizes has been determined with bounding flaw configurations, that is, through-wall axial or circumferential cracks, and part-through-wall long axial flaw or 360° circumferential crack. The procedure recommended by the American Petroleum Institute (API) 579 Fitness-for-Service code (Second Edition) is used to estimate the instability crack length or depth by implementing the failure assessment diagram (FAD) methodology. The welding residual stresses are mostly unknown and are therefore estimated with the API 579 procedure. It is demonstrated in this paper that the residual stress has significant impact on the instability length or depth of the crack. The findings will limit the applicability of the flaw tolerance obtained from limit load approach where residual stress is ignored and only ligament yielding is considered.

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