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Title: Thick Concrete Specimen Construction, Testing, and Preliminary Analysis

The purpose of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program is to develop technologies and other solutions that can improve the reliability, sustain the safety, and extend the operating lifetimes of nuclear power plants (NPPs) beyond 60 years. Since many important safety structures in an NPP are constructed of concrete, inspection techniques must be developed and tested to evaluate the internal condition. In-service containment structures generally do not allow for the destructive measures necessary to validate the accuracy of these inspection techniques. This creates a need for comparative testing of the various nondestructive evaluation (NDE) measurement techniques on concrete specimens with known material properties, voids, internal microstructure flaws, and reinforcement locations. A preliminary report detailed some of the challenges associated with thick reinforced concrete sections and prioritized conceptual designs of specimens that could be fabricated to represent NPP concrete structures for using in NDE evaluation comparisons. This led to the construction of the concrete specimen presented in this report, which has sufficient reinforcement density and cross-sectional size to represent an NPP containment wall. Details on how a suitably thick concrete specimen was constructed are presented, including the construction materials, final nominal designmore » schematic, as well as formwork and rigging required to safely meet the desired dimensions of the concrete structure. The report also details the type and methods of forming the concrete specimen as well as information on how the rebar and simulated defects were embedded. Details on how the resulting specimen was transported, safely anchored, and marked to allow access for systematic comparative NDE testing of defects in a representative NPP containment wall concrete specimen are also given. Data collection using the MIRA Ultrasonic NDE equipment and initial results are also presented along with a discussion of the preliminary findings. Comparative NDE of various defects in reinforced concrete specimens is a key component in identifying the most promising techniques and directing the research and development efforts needed to characterize concrete degradation in commercial NPPs. This requires access to the specimens for data collection using state-of-the-art technology. The construction of the specimen detailed in this report allows for an evaluation of how different NDE techniques may interact with the size and complexities of NPP concrete structures. These factors were taken into account when determining specimen size and features to ensure a realistic design. The lateral dimensions of the specimen were also chosen to mitigate unrealistic boundary effects that would not affect the results of field NPP concrete testing. Preliminary results show that, while the current methods are able to identify some of the deeper defects, improvements in data processing or hardware are necessary to be able to achieve the precision and reliability achieved in evaluating thinner and less heavily reinforced concrete structures.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
RC0304000; NERC006
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
concrete NDE; nuclear power; nondestructive evaluation; thick