Old Game, New Rules - Nuclear Inspections with the NanoMag™

Reactor Head Inspection with NanoMag

Reactor Head Inspection with NanoMag

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently announced changes to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) codes, including some key requirements directly related to one of our products. According to 10CFR50.55A, the frequency of reactor head examinations has been increased, and operators must now perform a visual inspection at every outage (unless a penetrant exam on the underside of the head is being performed). The change was made to maintain a standard for quality assurance, ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants and making NRC functions more efficient and effective. The final rule went into effect August 2017.

This likely means a lot of extra work for plant owners, operators and engineers – but we can help! Our NanoMag™ miniature magnetic crawler was originally designed to perform remote visual inspection (RVI) on the top and bottom of pressurized water reactors (PWR) more than 15 years ago; it has become the de facto tool for these types of inspections. But don’t just take our word for it — one of the earliest clients to utilize the NanoMag™ was Dave Gonzales at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. He explains, “We primarily use the Nanocrawler [sic] for our examinations. Its low profile and compact length offer excellent maneuverability and access in the limited space under the reactor head.”

Featuring a Spectrum 45™ pan and tilt camera on the front and Crystal Cam® camera on the back, the NanoMag™ is a key component in monitoring the susceptible areas on the outside of reactors. Typical defects include the cracking of PWR reactor vessel head penetrations, primary water stress corrosion cracking and embrittlement – all of which can be easily located and identified with the onboard cameras.

With an umbilical cable up to 200 feet (60 metres) long, operators can stay in a safe area outside the contamination zone while operating the NanoMag™. The system is simple to operate, with intuitive controls for vehicle and camera motion, and options for built-in video displays and recorders; an experienced technician or engineer can easily use the NanoMag™ crawler to identify existing and potential leak paths or other surface anomalies.

Inspect the unexpected. See why (and how!) clients like AREVA, GE, Kinectrics, Rolls Royce, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Vistas, MISTRAS Aetos Group, Toshiba and more employ Multi-Mission Modular (IM3™) technology in their nuclear inspections, and contact our expert team to learn how we can improve your RVI and nondestructive testing (NDT) operations in even the harshest environments found. And check out Inuktun’s nuclear spotlight page and blog for more case studies.