CANDU(1) Zr-2.5%Nb pressure tubes are susceptible to formation of hydrided regions at the locations of stress concentration, such as in-service flaws. Hydrided region overloads occur when the applied stress acting on a flaw with an existing hydrided region exceeds the stress at which the hydrided region has been formed. The overload events may potentially result in crack initiation and its subsequent growth by the mechanism of delayed hydride cracking. Therefore, evaluating the in-service flaws in the pressure tubes for crack initiation due to hydrided region overloads is required by the Canadian Nuclear Standards, and methodology is being developed to perform such evaluations. As part of this development, the resistance of pressure tube material to crack initiation due to hydrided region overloads was modeled statistically. In the proposed modeling framework, the overload resistance is expressed as a power-law function of the material resistance to initiation of delayed hydride cracking under constant loading. This approach fundamentally relies on the concept of a dual process zone introduced by E. Smith, as discussed in the paper. Both the overload crack initiation coefficient and the overload crack initiation exponent vary with the flaw geometry. The overload crack initiation coefficient also varies with the extent of stress reduction prior to hydride formation and with the number of non-ratcheting hydride formation thermal cycles. The developed model is suitable for use as a predictive model in probabilistic assessments of CANDU reactor core, and has been proposed for implementation into the scheduled revision (2015) of the Canadian Nuclear Standard CSA N285.8.

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