Failure of AM350 Stainless Steel Bellows
AM350 stainless steel bellows used in the control rod drive mechanism of a fast breeder reactor failed after 1000 h of service in sodium at 550 deg C (1020 deg F). Helium leak testing indicated that leaks had occurred at various regions of the welded joints between the convolutes in the bellows. The weld failure was attributed to poor quality assurance during fabrication, which resulted in cracklike openings at the fusion zone. The openings extended during tensile loading. Use of proper welding procedures and quality control measures were recommended to prevent future failures.