Cracking in a Steam Generator U-Tube
A rupture of a thirty-year-old U-tube on a steam generator for a closed-cycle pressurized-water nuclear power plant occurred, resulting in limited release of reactor water. A typical tube bundle can be over 9 m (30 ft) tall and 3 m (10 ft) in diam with over 3,000 22-mm (7/8-in.) diam Inconel Alloy 600 tubes. Tube support plates (TSP) separate the tubes and allow flow of the heating water/steam. Inconel Alloy 600 is susceptible to intergranular stress-corrosion cracking over time, so investigation included review of operational records, maintenance history, and procedures. It also included FEA (thermal gradients, nonlinear material behavior,...