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Robotic ultrasonic testing of AGR fuel cladding

Morozov, Maxim and Pierce, S. Gareth and Dobie, Gordon and Bolton, Gary T. and Bennett, Thomas (2016) Robotic ultrasonic testing of AGR fuel cladding. In: 55th Annual Conference of The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing NDT-2016. British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Northampton.

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Abstract

The purpose of the presented work was to undertake experimental trials to demonstrate the potential capabilities of an in-situ robotic ultrasonic scanning technique for measuring and monitoring loss of the cladding wall thickness in fuel pins of Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR) using inactive (i.e. non-radioactive) samples. AGR fuel pins are stainless steel cylindrical ribbed pipes of length circa of 1000 mm, inner diameter of the rod being circa 15 mm and wall thickness of circa 300µm. Spent AGR fuel pins are stored in a water pond and thus may be prone to corrosion and stresscorrosion cracking under adverse conditions. An ultrasonic immersion transducer with central frequency of 25MHz was used to measure wall thickness of the AGR fuel cladding using a frequency domain technique. Cylindrical ultrasonic scan of the samples 2 was performed using industrial robotic arm KUKA KR 5 arc HW. Also, very short (2.5mm long) and shallow (100µm in depth) crack-like defects were detected using time-domain technique.