As part of a fatigue management program for subsequent license renewal, a flaw tolerance evaluation based on ASME Code, Section XI, Appendix L may be performed. The current ASME Code, Section XI, Appendix L flaw tolerance methodology requires determination of the flaw aspect ratio for initial flaw size calculation. The flaw aspect ratios listed in ASME Section XI, Appendix L, Table L-3210-2, for austenitic piping for example, are listed as a function of the membrane-to-gradient cyclic stress ratio. The Code does not explicitly describe how to determine the ratio, especially when utilizing complex finite element analyses (FEA), involving different loading conditions (i.e. thermal transients, piping loads, pressure, etc.). The intent of the paper is to describe the methods being employed to determine the membrane-to-gradient cyclic stress ratios, and the corresponding flaw aspect ratios (a/l) listed in Table L-3210-2, when using finite element analysis methodology. Included will be a sample Appendix L evaluation, using finite element analysis of a pressurized water reactor (PWR) pressurizer surge line, including crack growth calculations for circumferential flaws in stainless steel piping. Based on this example, it has been demonstrated that, unless correctly separated, the membrane-to-gradient cyclic stress ratios can result in extremely long initial flaw lengths, and correspondingly short crack growth durations.

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