An experiment was conducted to investigate the role of weld residual stress on stress corrosion cracking in welded carbon steel plates prototypic to those used for nuclear waste storage tanks. Carbon steel specimen plates were butt-joined with Gas Metal Arc Welding technique. Initial cracks (seed cracks) were machined across the weld and in the heat affected zone. These specimen plates were then submerged in a simulated high level radioactive waste chemistry environment. Stress corrosion cracking occurred in the as-welded plate but not in the stress-relieved duplicate. A detailed finite element analysis to simulate exactly the welding process was carried out, and the resulting temperature history was used to calculate the residual stress distribution in the plate for characterizing the observed stress corrosion cracking. It was shown that the cracking can be predicted for the through-thickness cracks perpendicular to the weld by comparing the experimental KISCC to the calculated stress intensity factors due to the welding residual stress. The predicted crack lengths agree reasonably well with the test data. The final crack lengths appear to be dependent on the details of welding and the sequence of machining the seed cracks, consistent with the prediction.

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