Abstract

The potential for stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of welded stainless-steel interim storage containers for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) has been identified as a high priority data gap. This paper presents a fusion welding process that was developed for SNF canister repair. Submerged arc welding (SAW) was developed to weld 12.7 mm (0.5 in.) thick 304L stainless steel plates to simulate the initial welds on SNF canisters. The SAW procedure was qualified following ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code requirements. During SAW, the welding temperature was recorded at various locations by using thermocouples. After SAW, weld microstructures were characterized, joint mechanical properties were tested, and the maximum tensile residual stress direction was identified. After SAW procedure qualification, artificial cracks were excavated perpendicular to the maximum tensile residual stress direction in the SAW heat affected zone. Machine cold-wire gas tungsten arc welding (CW-GTAW) was developed and used for repair welding at cracked locations.

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