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BWXT $   $  
As of . Minimum 20 minute delay.

BWX Technologies, Inc.'s (BWXT) Failure Analysis Laboratory (FAL) is equipped with a wide range of digital photography and metallurgical instruments used to support failure analysis investigations. The laboratory is operated by an experienced staff of engineers and technicians trained in failure analysis techniques including microstructural characterization of metals and deposits, fractography, corrosion processes, welding metallurgy, and mechanical testing.

Projects conducted at the FAL typically involve:

  • Identifying the mechanism or cause of damage or failure of components in service and recommending corrective actions to prevent reoccurrence
  • Solving material-related problems in the manufacturing or fabrication of components
  • Identifying service-related environmental impurities that may contribute to material damage or failure
  • Characterizing materials and evaluating their compliance with specifications and their condition after service


Most FAL projects involve radioactive components originating from pressurized water reactors or boiling water reactors, although non-radioactive samples have been examined as well. Recent projects have involved reactor vessel head degradation, leaking bottom-mounted instrumentation nozzles, the cracking of a pressurized heater tube, steam generator tube failures, filter debris analysis, and investigations of cracking in springs, pipe weldments, and valve hardware. We are experienced with many alloy systems used in nuclear facilities, including zirconium alloys, inconel alloys, stellite alloys, and various stainless, carbon and alloy steels.


A summary of the metallurgical and failure analysis services offered on radioactive components removed from service:

  • Visual and stereovisual examinations
  • X-ray radiography
  • Dimensional inspection
  • Liquid penetrant inspection
  • Machining/sectioning
  • Rockwell and microhardness testing
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Microstructural examination
  • Scanning electron microscopy