Post-Service Examination of PWR Baffle Bolts, Part I. Examination and Test Plan.




In support of extended service and current operations of the US nuclear reactor plants, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), through the Department of Energy (DOE), Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program, is coordinating with Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, The Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC, and ATI Consulting, the selective procurement of baffle bolts that were withdrawn from service in 2011 and currently stored on site at Ginna. The goal of this program is to perform detailed microstructural and mechanical property characterization of baffle former bolts following in-service exposures. This report outlines the selection criteria of the bolts and the techniques to be used in this study. The bolts available are the original alloy 347 steel fasteners used in holding the baffle plates to the baffle former structures within the lower portion of the pressurized water reactor vessel. Of the eleven possible bolts made available for this work, none were identified to have specific damage. The bolts, however, did show varying levels of breakaway torque required in their removal. The bolts available for this study varied in peak fluence (highest dose within the head of the bolt) between 9.9 and 27.8x10<sup>21</sup> n/cm<sup>2</sup> (E>1MeV). As no evidence for crack initiation was determined for the available bolts from preliminary visual examination, two bolts with the higher fluence values were selected for further post-irradiation examination. The two bolts showed different breakaway torque levels necessary in their removal. The information from these bolts will be integral to the LWRS program initiatives in evaluating end of life microstructure and properties. Furthermore, valuable data will be obtained that can be incorporated into model predictions of long-term irradiation behavior and compared to results obtained in high flux experimental reactor conditions. The two bolts selected for the ORNL study will be shipped to Westinghouse with bolts of interest to their collaborative efforts with the Electric Power Research Institute. Westinghouse will section the ORNL bolts into samples specified in this report and return them to ORNL. Samples will include bend bars for fracture toughness and crack propagation studies along with thin sections from which specimens for bend testing, subscale tensile and microstructural analysis can be obtained. Additional material from the high stress concentration region at the transition between the bolt head and shank will also be preserved to allow for further investigation of possible crack initiation sites.



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