For several decades the nuclear industry has used structural weld overlays (SWOL) to repair and mitigate cracking within pressurized water reactor (PWR) components such as nozzles, pipes and elbows. There are two known primary mechanisms that have led to cracking within PWR components. One source of cracking has been primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC). Numerous SWOL repairs and mitigations were installed in the early 2000s to address PWSCC in components such as pressurizer nozzles. However, nearly all of the likely candidate components for SWOL repairs have now been addressed in the industry. The other cause for cracking has been by fatigue, which usually results from thermal cycling events such as leakage caused by a faulty valve close to the component. The PWR components of most concern for fatigue cracking are mainly stainless steel. Thus, ASME Section XI Code Case N-504-4 would be a likely basis for SWOL repairs of these components, although this Code Case was originally drafted to address stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in boiling water reactors (BWR). N-504-4 includes the requirements for the SWOL design and subsequent analyses to establish the design life for the overlay based on predicted crack growth after the repair.
This paper presents analysis work performed using Code Case N-504-4 to establish the design life of a SWOL repair applied to a boron injection tank (BIT) line nozzle attached to the cold leg of an operating PWR. The overlay was applied to the nozzle to address flaws found within the stainless steel base metal during inservice examination. Analyses were performed to calculate the residual stresses resulting from the original fabrication and the subsequent SWOL repair. In addition, post-SWOL operating stresses were calculated to demonstrate that the overlay does not invalidate the ASME Section III design basis for the nozzle and attached pipe. The operating and residual stresses were also used for input to a fatigue crack growth (FCG) analysis in order to establish the design life of the overlay. Lastly, the weld shrinkage from the application of overlay was evaluated for potential impact on the attached piping, restraints and valves within the BIT line. The combined analyses of the installed SWOL provide a basis for continued operation for the remaining life of the plant.