Pre- and in-service inspection…

There has been a high demand for in-service inspection in the UK for many years across many industry sectors. The oil & gas sector has many ageing assets that are in their ‘period of life extension’ (periods beyond the originally defined period for which a facility is to operate while still maintaining acceptable standards of operational and technical integrity), where CM, NDT and inspection continue to provide essential information. This is also typical in the power generation sector, especially as power generating plant is used in different ways to those it was designed for, often with short duty cycles. The type of flaws that are manifesting themselves are significantly different to those encountered during manufacture, hence why there are specific training and certification programmes for this.

There are signs that the nuclear build programme in the UK is gathering momentum. The inspection that is required outside of the nuclear island* is the area where conventional NDT will be required. The potential flaws that can be expected are from the manufacturing processes rather than the in-service type, so a workforce that has been used to the requirements of in-service inspections will need to refocus on the requirements for manufacturing specific inspections. Within the Nuclear Island, more specialist inspections will be required, resulting in a significant amount of product-specific in-house training. With the change in the market due to Brexit and other factors, the cost of manufacture in the UK has become more competitive for overseas markets, which could also lead to an increase in the number of inspections at the point of manufacture.

*Nuclear island (NI), the part of a nuclear power plant (NPP) that incorporates all equipment, systems, installation and control and other relevant hardware installed within the reactor and reactor auxiliary buildings. The boundaries of the NI are normally defined as being one metre outside of the external boundaries of the above-mentioned buildings in the case of piping and two metres for cable. An NPP is divided into two main parts, ie the NI and the conventional island. The NI is further subdivided into the nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) and the balance of NI, ie everything else that needs to be designed, constructed and tested to complete the NI.

Courtesy of Burges Salmon LLP Glossary of Nuclear Terms ( )

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