The steam generator in a nuclear power plant is a large heat exchanger that uses heat from reactor to generate steam to drive the turbine generators. Rupture of a steam generator tube can result in release of fission products to environment. Therefore, an accurate integrity assessment of the steam generator tubes with cracks is of great importance for maintaining safety of a nuclear power plant. The steam generator tubes are supported at periodic intervals by support plates and rotations of the tubes are constrained. Although it was reported that the limit load for a circumferential crack was significantly affected by boundary condition of the tube, existing limit load solutions do not include the constraining effect of tube supports. This paper provides detailed limit load solutions for circumferential cracks in steam generator tubes considering the actual boundary conditions to simulate the constraining effect of the tube supports. Such solutions are developed based on three dimensional (3D) finite element analyses. The resulting limit load solutions are given in a polynomial form, and thus can be simply used in practical integrity assessment of the steam generator tubes.

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