This study was carried out to establish crack opening displacement (COD) evaluation methods used in Leak-Before-Break (LBB) assessment of thin-walled large-diameter pipes of the Sodium cooled Fast Reactors (SFRs). For the pipes of SFR, the continuous leak monitoring will be adopted as an alternative to a volumetric test of the weld joints under conditions that satisfy LBB. The sodium pipes are made of ASME Gr.91 (modified 9Cr-1Mo steel). Thickness of the pipes is small, because the internal pressure is very small. Modified 9Cr-1Mo steel has a relatively large yield stress and small work hardening coefficient comparing to the austenitic stainless steels which are currently used in the conventional plants. In order to assess the LBB behavior of the sodium pipes made of modified 9Cr-1Mo steel, the coolant leak rate from a through wall crack must be estimated properly. Since the leak rate is strongly related to the crack opening displacement (COD), an appropriate COD assessment method must be established to perform LBB assessment. However, COD assessment method applicable for SFR pipes — having thin wall thickness and made of small work hardening material — has not been proposed yet. Thus, a COD assessment method applicable to thin walled large diameter pipe made of modified 9Cr-1Mo steel was proposed in this study. In this method, COD was calculated by classifying the components of COD; elastic, local plastic and fully plastic. In addition, the verification of this method was performed by comparing with the results of a series of four-point bending tests using modified 9Cr-1Mo steel pipe having a circumferential through wall notch. As a result, in some cases, COD were overestimated especially for large cracks. Although the elastic component of COD, δEE, is still over-estimated for large cracks, leak evaluation from small cracks is much more important in LBB assessment. Therefore, this study recommends that only the elastic component of COD, δEE, should be adopted in LBB assessment of SFR pipes.

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