Reactor–vessel internal components made of nickel–base alloys are susceptible to environmentally assisted cracking. A better understanding of the causes and mechanisms of this cracking may permit less conservative estimates of damage accumulation and requirements on inspection intervals of pressurized water reactors (PWRs). This paper presents crack growth rate (CGR) results for Alloy 600 removed from nozzle#3 of the Davis–Besse (D-B) control rod drive mechanism (CRDM). The tests were conducted on 1/4-T or 1/2-T compact tension specimens in simulated PWR environment, and crack extensions were determined by DC potential drop measurements. The experimental CGRs under cyclic and constant load are compared with the existing CGR data for Alloy 600 to determine the relative susceptibility of the D-B CRDM nozzle alloy to environmentally enhanced cracking. The CGRs under constant load for the nozzle material are higher than those predicted by the best-fit curve for Alloy 600 at 316 °C. The results also indicate significant enhancement of CGRs under cyclic loading in the PWR environment. Characterization of the material microstructure and tensile properties is described.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.