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People Strong - Innovation Driven

PWR Steam Generator Tube Inspection

BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) serves the commercial U.S. steam generator (SG) inspection market by providing state-of-the-industry inspection and analysis technology and a best-in-class teaming approach, delivering optimal outage performance and exceptional quality and value. Our fresh approach reduces cost, schedule, dose, exposure to safety incidents and human performance variances. BWXT has selected the ZR-100 intelligent robot as the delivery platform for our inspection and repair processes. The ZR-100 is capable of automatically executing complex inspection campaigns, using knowledge of its environment coupled with inspection planning to map its movements in the most efficient manner. Onboard Machine Vision and other independent position verification methods provide accurate encoding, and enable rapid, single tube calibration of the robot. The ZR-100 can access over 200 tubes from a single stance, and can traverse the tubesheet at speeds of 5 feet per minute.

Inspection planning and acquisition sequencing are carried out by software simulations, prior to the inspection, to derive the optimal path with consideration for variables such as plugs, stays, conduit routing, the number of moves, gripper cycles and schedule time. Entire inspections can be simulated ahead of time to facilitate scheduling. During the outage, programmed inspections are conducted entirely by the robot, with only human monitoring instead of dedicated operation. Additionally, system network integration provides a new degree of robot awareness to avoid other robots and probe activity in opposite channel heads, and defines working zones for each robot. To take full advantage of the ZR-100’s automation features, the ECT Dual Guide Tube (DGT) tool head was redesigned to further optimize the inspection process, enhancing efficiency and data quality. The guide tubes skip one pitch to eliminate probe crosstalk and associated re-tests. A tube cupping feature and tubesheet proximity automates acquisition, prevents misencodes, and improves probe life and data quality. An inline quality standard with machined flaws monitors data quality and system performance. And, traditional metal tool head “drops” are eliminated, improving equipment.

Analysis Resources

BWXT has resources and experience to deliver superior analysis quality and impressive accuracy and schedule. BWXT, aligned with Anatec Inc., can provide more than 180 professional nondestructive examination (NDE) personnel specializing in SG inspections. We have a number of highly experienced personnel with specific expertise in developing, qualifying and implementing existing and emergent techniques and equipment, including site qualification. BWXT also has personnel who are experienced with oversight of acquisition, analysis and data management processes.

BWXT can provide typical manual and automated analysis with personnel who have extensive experience with SG tube inspection. In addition, we can deliver a revolutionary new model for dual analysis using Zetec’s RevospECT® automated analysis product. The RevospECT system is fully capable of performing multiple path analysis, applying any combination of probe technologies, to exceed the key performance indices of current dual analysis concepts, with additional capability to assess a signal’s change over time and apply rule-based logic for final reporting of an indication. The key benefits of such an approach are increased probability of detection (POD), accuracy and consistency, with greatly increased type and amount of analyses performed, and all this with fewer people and considerably less equipment and logistical concerns.

Key Features and Benefits:

Fully integrated eddy current inspection system with advanced robotics and automation features:

  • ZR-100 intelligent robot
  • MIZ-80®iD eddy current instrument
  • New, improved dual guide tube (DGT)
  • Advanced inspection planning software optimizes he acquisition cycle and allows pre-outage simulation of work scope
  • Access to experienced acquisition, analysis, and data management resources as well as RevospECT, Zetec’s revolutionary automated analysis system
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