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Nuclear power plants typically experience two or three high-cycle fatigue failures of stainless steel socket-welded connections in small bore piping during each plant-year of operation. This paper discusses fatigue-induced failure in socket-welded joints and the strategy Texas Utilities Electric Company (TU Electric) has implemented in response to these failures. High-cycle fatigue is invisible to proven commercial nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods during crack initiation and the initial phases of crack growth. Under a constant applied stress, cracks grow at accelerating rates, which means cracks extend from a detectable size to a through-wall crack in a relatively short time. When fatigue...

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