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Progress Energys

Experiences with Quality

Issues on Cast C12A Valve


As part of the construction of the Richmond

County 5 Combined Cycle Unit, large bore
C12A valves had been ordered for HP and
HRH steam lines

4 24 HRH valves and 2 16 HP steam

valves were ordered.

Early indications of problems

During routine correspondence with the

design company it was noticed that
numerous base metal repairs had been
performed on the valve bodies at the valve
As a result, Progress requested weld
documentation including, filler metal
chemistries, PWHT charts and hardness
The fabricator was unable to supply the

Emerging Problems

A shop visit was performed to audit the

fabricators compliance with the Progress
Energy Grade 91 specification.
It was discovered that the fabricator was
unaware of the spec even though it had
been provided with the contract.
As a result, none of the requirements of
spec had been met.

Deficiencies discovered

The valves had been processed according

to the fabricators standard practices.
The following deficiencies were noted:

Failure to adhere to Ni+Mn content in the

filler metals
Inappropriate preheat practices
No moisture control between welding and
Minimal control of PWHT process
No formal hardness testing procedures

Follow up testing

Since the requirements of the spec had

not been adhered to, follow up testing was
MT surface examination was performed to
ensure no surface cracking from SCC.
Random hardness testing was performed
in areas where welds were supposedly
performed. Some soft areas were

Recovery Plan

Since the delivery schedule was being

impacted, the fabricator decided to
disassemble the valves, renormalize and
To account for oxidation during heat
treatment, the weld prep areas and areas
on the bonnet were built up with weld

Renormalization and Tempering

Initial attempts at renormalizing the HP

valves was unsuccessful due to slow
cooling rates.

Renormalizing and Tempering

It was also discovered that the standard

method of temperature control was with a
single TC located at the top of the furnace.
No base metal thermocouples were
Comparisons of temperature trends
showed up to 90 minutes of lag time.
After the challenges with N&T, there was
also the unanticipated departure of the QC

Further casting problems


After N&T was completed, machining of

the valves was started.
As the weld preps were being machined,
cracking was found in the areas that were
built up.
The cracking was oriented both
circumferentially and longitudinally.

Crack Locations


Crack Locations


Crack repairs


The cracks were mostly machined out and

those that extended in the base metal
were ground and welded.
To ensure there was no further subsurface
cracking, Progress requested RT of the
The RTs showed no further cracking but
revealed extensive casting and shrinkage
voids in the 24 valves but not the 16
All valve bodies were 100% RTd.



The voids discovered in the 24 valves

ranged in size but some were quite
The voids were compared to reference
radiographs to determine acceptability.
3 to 4 areas on each valve body were
found to be unacceptable and required
All unacceptable voids were ground out
and repaired. Some extended almost
through wall.

Example of excavations


Excavated Voids


Void Radiographs


Valve Completion


Finally, all valve repairs were completed

and the assembled valves were shipped to
the site for installation.
As precaution, Mr. Jeff Henry with
Structural Integrity was contracted to
review all of the QC documentation to
ensure that the valves were fit for service.
All valves were found to be fit but
numerous concerns had been raised that
may need to be addressed at a code level.

Issues raised


Handling and processing of C12A cast

material is problematic. Foundries and
valve fabricators are clearly not up to
speed on the proper procedures.
Little to no filler metal chemistry control
Poor preheat practices
Moisture control between welding and
Poor PWHT practices, especially in
furnace PWHT.

Issues continued


No requirement for volumetric examination

unless specified by the customer (see
A217 supplementary requirements).
QC documentation is not adequately
retained. Especially dealing with base
metal repairs at the foundry and the
This is not an isolated occurrance. Similar
issues were found at other fabricators
although not to the same extent.

Other concerns

Follow up visits to the foundries uncovered

other issues such as:


Sequence of heat treatment (N&T then

weld repair then PWHT)
Adequacy of temperature monitoring
during furnace heat treatment.
No volumetric examination requirements.

Now What?

Immediately revise the fabrication

specification to include the following items:


Mandatory full volumetric examinations of

all castings using radiography
Require thermocouples to be placed
directly on the casting bodies at prescribed
locations during normalizing, tempering
and PWHT.
Require valve manufacturers to
communicate requirements to foundries.

Existing Equipment

With the issues identified, what is the

status of cast valves in the field?
A plan of action was developed to address
the status of valves in service.


Review of fabrication documentation.

Development of NDE procedures to
identify welds in existing valves.

Documentation Review


A review of existing valve fabrication

documentation was initiated.
As expected, most of the relevant
information did not exist. There was no
standard practice for foundries to
document weld repairs.
No N&T or PWHT charts were provided
from the foundries.
Conclusions: No way to verify that valves
were fabricated correctly.

NDE Development


Without documentation, the valves would

have to be evaluated individually.
Progress Energy NDE Services began
research on how to detect weld repairs in
existing valves.
A technique was developed using Eddy
Current testing to detect changes in
This technique has now been used
successfully in the field to detect repairs.

ASME Code Changes

As a result of the problems encountered, a

presentation was made to the ASME
Section II/IX Task Group on CSEF Steels.
Changes were proposed to Code Case
2192 to include:


Full volumetric examination

Renormalizing after major repairs
Requirement for attaching TCs to base
Mapping of weld repairs

ASME Code Changes


Revised Code Case 2192-7 was passed

by ASME Section I at the August Code
meetings and was sent to letter ballot.
Next step: Submit the same proposal to
ASME B31.1 for action.

Questions ?