Mitigating the safety and compliance risks of inspections in nuclear power plants
Challenges of NDT in nuclear power plants
Nuclear power plant inspection teams and non-destructive testing (NDT) businesses that work in nuclear facilities play exceptionally important roles in identifying and preventing failures and accidents that could impact workers and surrounding communities. In addition, comprehensive assessments are needed for nuclear power plant outage management and to ensure cost-effective system optimization.
Carrying out complex component assessments
Assessing the structural integrity of components and assemblies of nuclear power plant equipment can be difficult due to their sizes, geometries and reflective surfaces. In order to carry out accurate inspections, teams often need extra time to ensure they capture all the data they need to make well-informed decisions.
Archiving inspection data
An increasing number of nuclear plants are looking to better archive inspection data to minimize repeated inspections and enable experts to better monitor the state-of-health of parts without having to go on site. Archiving inspections also allows nuclear power plants to prove compliance with regulatory bodies during audits as well as validate/correct schematic drawings.
Solution: Portable 3D scanning technologies are game changers for NDT testing
More and more NDT teams and in-house inspectors are opting for handheld and easy-to-use 3D scanners for a wide array of nuclear power plant applications.
Portable and lightweight 3D scanners make it very efficient and ergonomic to acquire measurement data on parts, regardless of where they are located in the plant.
Fast 3D scanning of parts and pipes, along with the right NDT software can accelerate data acquisition as well as reduce processing times to shorten schedules and limit field worker exposure.
Simple 3D scanning technologies can help mitigate the labour shortage when it comes to inspection projects that require highly experienced and highly trained experts; users of varying skill levels can achieve first-time-right 3D measurements, allowing more specialized professionals to focus on critical tasks.
Accurate 3D data collection from scanners, despite rugged work conditions, give inspection teams the confidence they are basing their assessments on reliable and repeatable results. Non-destructive evaluations (NDE) can be conducted in real time so that management teams or NDT clients have a better picture of their equipment’s integrity and performance, which in turn leaves to better maintenance planning and execution.
Benefits: Accurate, fast and safe nuclear power plant testing
Nuclear power plants and service suppliers that used metrology solutions, such as Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D scanner and Pipecheck software, achieve an impressive return on investment in a short time frame.
- Safer nuclear power plant inspections: Requiring minimal setup times and fast data acquisition, the HandySCAN 3D can speed up inspection workflows, cut down the time spent out in the field, and reduce radiation exposure.
- Easy inspection assessments: Technicians can use the HandySCAN 3D in hard-to-reach areas—all while guaranteeing the consistency of the data being collected. Also, Pipecheck’s intuitive interface allows inspectors to quickly identify potential issues so that corrective measures can be proactively undertaken.
- Access to highly accurate data: As opposed to manual measurements, using a 3D scanner generates the extremely high levels of accuracy, reliability and repeatability nuclear power plant operators want to make more informed decisions.
- Boosted inspection capacity: With contemporary metrology technologies, in-house inspection and third-party NDT teams can actually carry out more assessments with fewer employees, which can give nuclear plants an edge when it comes to OPEX control.
Nucleom is a Canadian-based leader that provides end-to-end NDT services for nuclear facilities, helping them address their inspection challenges efficiently and at scale.
To facilitate inspection workflows with clients, the team acquired HandySCAN 3D scanners and Pipecheck software. The team was exceptionally pleased with the level of detail the solutions provided to characterize faults and possible failures on various reactor pipes and parts.
“We tested many different technologies and we have found that Creaform’s solution and support were the best,” said Adam Pinard, NDE Engineer and 3D Scan Lead at Nucleom.