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Title: Nuclear Power Plant NDE Challenges - Past, Present, and Future


This is a paper that covers the major thrust of NDE work that PNNL has conducted for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1977 to the present.

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
401001060; TRN: US0704065
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, AIP Conference Proceedings, 894:17-31
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Doctor, Steven R. Nuclear Power Plant NDE Challenges - Past, Present, and Future. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2717950.
Doctor, Steven R. Nuclear Power Plant NDE Challenges - Past, Present, and Future. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2717950.
Doctor, Steven R. Mon . "Nuclear Power Plant NDE Challenges - Past, Present, and Future". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2717950.
title = {Nuclear Power Plant NDE Challenges - Past, Present, and Future},
author = {Doctor, Steven R.},
abstractNote = {This is a paper that covers the major thrust of NDE work that PNNL has conducted for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1977 to the present.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2717950},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}

Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

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  • The operating fleet of U.S. nuclear power plants was built to fossil plant standards (of workmanship, not fitness for service) and with good engineering judgment. Fortuitously, those nuclear power plants were designed using defense-in-depth concepts, with nondestructive examination (NDE) an important layer, so they can tolerate almost any component failure and still continue to operate safely. In the 30+ years of reactor operation, many material failures have occurred. Unfortunately, NDE has not provided the reliability to detect degradation prior to initial failure (breaching the pressure boundary). However, NDE programs have been improved by moving from prescriptive procedures to performance demonstrationsmore » that quantify inspection effectiveness for flaw detection probability and sizing accuracy. Other improvements include the use of risk-informed strategies to ensure that reactor components contributing the most risk receive the best and most frequent inspections. Another challenge is the recent surge of interest in building new nuclear power plants in the United States to meet increasing domestic energy demand. New construction will increase the demand for NDE but also offers the opportunity for more proactive inspections. This paper reviews the inception and evolution of NDE for nuclear power plants over the past 40 years, recounts lessons learned, and describes the needs remaining as existing plants continue operation and new construction is contemplated.« less
  • Geothermal power plant retrofits can improve plant efficiency, reduce operations and maintenance costs, as well as increase plant availability. All geothermal power producers must find new ways to become more competitive as the electric power industry becomes deregulated. To survive and thrive in the competitive power generation market, geothermal plant operators must continually look for economic power plant upgrades that reduce the cost of production and improve availability. This paper describes past and present power plant retrofits as well as shows how further research can help future plant improvements. Past power plant retrofits at Pacific Gas and Electric Company`s Geysersmore » Power Plants include innovative H{sub 2}S burners that reduced chemical costs and a turbine jack-shaft that improved unit efficiency. Other important retrofits that dramatically reduced turbine forced outage and repair costs were turbine blade and nozzle changes, turbine weld repairs, and steam desuperheating.« less
  • This paper discusses the past, present, and future roles of nuclear power and summarizes the evolution of nuclear power plants, advanced reactor development, and the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Although nuclear energy is an essentially unlimited resource, the rate of introduction of nuclear plants remains below even the more pessimistic earlier forecasts. Nevertheless, nuclear energy accounts for 17% of the world's total electricity generation. With increasing focus on environmentally acceptable economic development and close examination of appropriate applications of science and technology, it is reasonable to expect a reduced rate of increase and ultimately a levelingmore » of electricity demand. The IAEA estimates an increase by the year 2010 from the current nuclear generating capacity of 327 GW(electric) to a capacity of 456 GW(electric) (low estimate) to 577 GW(electric) (high estimate). From an environmental standpoint, the recent Helsinki Symposium on Electricity and the Environment concluded that a key element in the strategy to cope with the increasing risk of global warming due to CO[sub 2] emissions from fossil plants is the deployment of advanced nuclear power plants.« less
  • The author has spent more than 25 years conducting engineering and research studies to quantify the performance of nondestructive evaluation (NDE) in nuclear power plant (NPP) applications and identifying improvements to codes and standards for NDE to manage materials degradation. This paper will review this fundamental NDE engineering/research work and then look to the future on how NDE can be optimized for proactively managing materials degradation in NPP components.