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Photothermal NDE of CRD Penetration J-Groove Welds

[+] Author Affiliations
S. W. Glass

AREVA Framatome-ANP, Lynchburg, VA

Marc Piriou

AREVA Framatome-ANP, Saint Marcel, France

Paper No. PVP2005-71090, pp. 135-138; 4 pages
  • ASME 2005 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 5: High Pressure Technology, Nondestructive Evaluation, Pipeline Systems, Student Paper Competition
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, July 17–21, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4190-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3763-7
  • Copyright © 2005 by Framatome ANP, Inc.


A programmatic inspection of both old and replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) heads is required by US nuclear utilities in response to the observed cracks and in some cases, leaks. Flaws can initiate either in the nozzle pipe, or in the J-Groove weld between the nozzle and the head. Inspection of the J-groove weld surface has historically been performed by eddy current (ET) or die-penetrant (PT) methods (Reference 1). Both approaches require complex robotic delivery mechanisms, are time consuming to perform, and are subject to false positive indications, or missed calls due to the very complex geometry. A new field-deployable photothermal non-destructive examination (NDE) system has been developed that offers distinct advantages over the ET or PT approach. A laser is scanned to heat a short line (∼20mm) on the material surface. Heat propagation perpendicular to the line is tracked with an IR imaging device. By appropriate signal processing, the image can enhance temperature change gradients indicative of cracks or material flaws. The method can be applied from up to 2 meters away from the surface and the detailed surface scans can be an optical scan rather than a complex-motion contacting tool scan of the surface. This paper outlines laboratory performance of the photothermal NDE system, discusses potential advantages over existing technology for RPV head J-groove inspection, and outlines additional developments for full field implementation.

Copyright © 2005 by Framatome ANP, Inc.



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