Automated image stitching for fuel channel inspection of AGR cores

Murray, Paul and West, Graeme and Lynch, Chris and Marshall, Stephen and McArthur, Stephen; Flewitt, Peter and Wickham, Anthony, eds. (2015) Automated image stitching for fuel channel inspection of AGR cores. In: The 4th EDF Energy Nuclear Graphite Symposium. EMAS Publishing, GBR. ISBN 9780957673052

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Abstract

Visual inspection of fuel channels is an important element of the understanding of the health of the current fleet of AGR reactors. When a fuel channel is inspected, video footage of the entire inside surface is recorded through a series of vertical scans of the channel. When areas of interest such as cracks are identified, screenshots of these areas are taken and manually stitched together to produce a montage of the region of interest. This is a lengthy process, which requires an experienced person to undertake. The resultant montages are assessed and then included in the TV GAP sheet, a document that forms part of the case for return to service. This paper describes an automated approach which uses advanced image processing techniques to recreate a full 360° image of the inside surface of the channel using the same video input. These images offer a significant improvement in the quality over the manual approach, provides 100% coverage of the channel and can be generated in a fraction of the time of the manual images. The software has been applied to over 30 recent channel inspections, and has been demonstrated using footage from all 7 AGR stations.