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Abstract

A pair of steam generators operating at a pressurized water reactor site were found to be leaking near a closure weld. The generators were the vertical U-tube type, constructed from ASTM A302 grade B steel. The shell material exhibited high hardness values prior to confirmatory heat treatment, indicating high residual stresses in the area of the weld. All cracks were transgranular and were associated with pits on the inside surfaces of the vessels. It was concluded that the cracking was caused by a low-cycle corrosion fatigue phenomenon, with cracks initiating at areas of localized corrosion and propagating by fatigue. The cause of the pitting/cracking was related to the unit's copper species in solution.

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