As part of the activities for the eventual start-up of Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant, Tecnatom has completed the ultrasonic inspection of the reactor vessel with the collaboration of General Electric Hitachi International (GEH).
Particularly significant milestones have been achieved in the field of nuclear inspection services during the performance of this project. One of the most outstanding concerns the technology applied and the mechanical equipment used for this task, the RPVID (Reactor Pressure Vessel Inner Diameter). This has been the first application of this novelty technology at a Spanish plant, where we have managed to achieve a maximum degree of coverage in the 7 welds inspected.
The RPVID moves across the inner surface of the vessel wall autonomously, thanks to turbines that provide the necessary support and traction. Tecnatom has developed the manipulator for the inspection of BWR reactor vessel welds, and has also redesigned certain additional characteristics of the equipment in order to adapt it to the geometry and dimensions of the vessel.
The techniques applied during the inspection were qualified in accordance with the ENIQ programme and the CEX-120 methodology approved by the Nuclear Safety Council. For the development of the inspection procedure, Tecnatom used the techniques previously qualified by EPRI within the framework of the Performance Demonstration Initiative (PDI) programme, an international reference in this field.
Tecnatom completed the inspection in accordance with the schedule mapped out and, thanks to the development of this new equipment, the records obtained have been of high quality, with a high degree of repeatability and linearity.