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Two AISI type 316 stainless steel components intended for use in a reducer section for sodium piping in a fast breeder test reactor were found to be severely corroded—the first soon after pickling, and the second after passivation treatments. Metallographic examination revealed that one of the components was in a highly sensitized condition and that the pickling and passivation had resulted in severe intergranular corrosion. The other component was fabricated from thick plate and, after machining, the outer surface represented the transverse section of the original plate. Pickling and passivation resulted in severe pitting because of end-grain effect. Strict control of heat treatment parameters to prevent sensitization and modification of pickling and passivating conditions for machined components were recommended.

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