The influence of cladding residual stresses on the crack driving force for shallow cracks in the wall of a nuclear pressure vessel is investigated. Thermo-elastic-plastic analyses were carried out on long axial through-clad and sub-clad flaws on the inside of the vessel. The depth of the flaws were one and three times the cladding thickness, respectively. An analysis of a semielliptical axial through-clad flaw was also performed. It was assumed that the residual stresses arise due to the difference in the thermal expansion between the cladding and the base material during the cool down from stress relieving temperature to room temperature and due to the subsequent proof test before the vessel is put into service. The variation of the crack tip opening displacement during these loadings and during a subsequent thermal shock on the inside wall is described. The analyses for the long axial flaws suggest that the crack driving force is smaller for this type of flaw if the residual stresses in the cladding are taken into account than if one assumes that the cladding has no residual stresses. However, the analysis of the semielliptical flaw shows significantly different results. Here the crack driving force is higher than when the residual stresses are not taken into account and is maximum in the cladding at or near the clad/base material interface. This suggests that the crack would propagate along the clad/base material interface before it would penetrate deeper into the wall. The elastic-plastic behavior found in the analyses show that the cladding and the residual stresses in the cladding should be taken into acocunt when evaluating the severity of shallow surface cracks on the inside of a nuclear pressure vessel.

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