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Structural Impact Assessment of Flaws Detected During Ultrasonic Examination of a Radioactive Waste Tank

[+] Author Affiliations
B. J. Wiersma, J. B. Elder

Westinghouse Savannah River Company, Aiken, SC

Paper No. PVP2003-2037, pp. 143-156; 14 pages
  • ASME 2003 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Flaw Evaluation, Service Experience, and Reliability
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, July 20–24, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4154-5
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


Ultrasonic (UT) inspection of an underground storage tank containing radioactive waste was conducted at the Savannah River Site (SRS). Ten cracks were identified during this examination. A critical review of the information describing stress corrosion crack behavior for the SRS waste tanks, as well as a summary review of the service history this tank, was performed. Each crack was then evaluated for service exposure history, consistency of the crack behavior with the current understanding of stress corrosion cracking, and present and future impact to the structural integrity of the tank. In all cases, the crack behavior was determined to be consistent with the previous understanding of stress corrosion cracking in the SRS waste tank environment. The length of the cracks was limited due to the short-range nature of the residual stresses near seam, repair and attachment welds. In many cases the cracks were associated with exposure to fresh waste from the SRS canyons as previously observed. However, cases in which the crack was observed to go through-wall while located in the vapor space above the waste were also observed. The time of initiation and propagation rate of these cracks is unknown. A re-examination of these cracks will determine whether these cracks are continuing to grow while in the vapor space. The impact of these cracks on the future service of this tank was also assessed. A bounding loading condition due waste removal of the sludge at the bottom of Tank 15 was considered for this analysis. The analysis showed that the combination of hydrostatic and weld residual stresses do not drive any of the cracks identified during the UT inspection to instability. For all cracks the instability length was more than 10 times the actual flaw length. The re-examination of this tank is scheduled for 2007. This examination would provide information to determine whether any additional detectable degradation is occurring and to supplement the basis for specification of conditions that are non-aggressive to tank corrosion damage for similar tanks at SRS.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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