In-service flaws in cold-worked Zr-2.5 Nb pressure tubes in CANDU(1) reactors are susceptible to a phenomenon known as delayed hydride cracking (DHC). The material is susceptible to DHC when there is diffusion of hydrogen atoms to a service-induced flaw, precipitation of hydrides on appropriately oriented crystallographic planes in the zirconium alloy matrix material, and development of a hydrided region at the flaw tip. The hydrided region could then fracture to the extent that a crack forms and DHC is said to have initiated. Examples of in-service flaws are fuel bundle scratches, crevice corrosion marks, fuel bundle bearing pad fretting flaws, and debris fretting flaws. These flaws are volumetric in nature. Evaluation of DHC initiation from the flaw is a requirement of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard N285.8. This paper describes the validation of the weight function based process-zone model for evaluation of pressure tube flaws for DHC initiation. Validation was performed by comparing the predicted threshold load levels for DHC initiation with the results from DHC initiation experiments on small notched specimens. The notches in the specimens simulate axial in-service flaws in the pressure tube. The validation was performed for both un-irradiated and pre-irradiated pressure tube material.

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