A root-cracked blade in a high-pressure steam turbine of a nuclear power plant had to be replaced with a new blade by cutting the shroud to remove the cracked blade. This necessitated in situ welding of a new shroud piece with the existing shroud after the blade replacement. The in situ welding of the shroud, a 12%Cr martensitic stainless steel with tempered martensite microstructure, was carried out using gastungsten arc welding and 316L austenitic stainless steel filler metal followed by localized postweld heat treatment at 873 K for 1 h using a specially designed electrical resistance-heating furnace. Mock-up trials were carried out to ensure that sound welds could be made under the constraints present during the in situ repair welding operation. In situ metallography of the repair weld after postweld heat treatment confirmed the adequate tempering of the martensitic structure in the heat-affected zone. Metallurgical investigations carried out in the laboratory on a shroud test-piece that had been welded using the same procedure as employed in the field confirmed the success of the in situ repair operation. The alternate option available was replacing the cracked blade and the shroud piece to which it is riveted with a new one, reducing the height of all the blades attached to the shroud by machining, riveting the blades with reduced height to the new shroud, and, finally, dynamic balancing of the entire turbine after completion of the repair. This option is both time-consuming and expensive. Hence, the successful completion of this repair welding resulted in enormous savings both in terms of reducing the downtime of the plant and the cost of the repair. The turbine has been put back into service and has been operating satisfactorily since December 2000.
- 12% martensitic stainless steel
- In situ welding
- Shroud repair
- Steam turbine