Procedures for the analytical evaluation of flaws in nuclear pressure boundary components are provided in Section XI of the ASME B&PV Code. The flaw evaluation procedure requires calculation of the stress intensity factor. Engineering procedures to calculate the stress intensity factor are typically based on a polynomial equation to represent the stress distribution through the wall thickness, where the polynomial equation is fitted using the least squares method to discrete data point of stress through the wall thickness. However, the resultant polynomial equation is not always an optimum fit to stress distributions with large gradients or discontinuities. Application of the weight function method enables a more accurate representation of the stress distribution for the calculation of the stress intensity factor. Since engineering procedures and engineering software for flaw evaluation are typically based on the polynomial equation to represent the stress distribution, it would be desirable to incorporate the advantages of the weight function method while still retaining the framework of the polynomial equation to represent the stress distribution when calculating the stress intensity factor. A method to calculate the stress intensity factor using a polynomial equation to represent the stress distribution through the wall thickness, but which provides the same value of the stress intensity factor as is obtained using the Universal Weight Function Method, is provided in this paper.

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