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A number of AISI 347 stainless steel bellows intended for use in the control rod drive mechanism of a fast breeder reactor were found to be leaking before being placed in service. The bellows, which had been in storage for one year in a seacoast environment, exhibited a leak rate on the order of 1 x 10−7 cu cm/s (6 x 10−8 cu in./s). Optical metallography revealed numerous pits and cracks on the surfaces of the bellow convolutes, which had been welded to one another using an autogenous gas tungsten arc welding process. Microhardness measurements indicated that the bellows had not been adequately stress relieved. It was recommended that a complete stress-relieving treatment be applied to the formed bellows. Improvement of storage conditions to avoid direct and prolonged contact of the bellows with the humid, chloride-containing environment was also recommended.

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