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Data-driven analysis of ultrasonic pressure tube inspection data

Zacharis, P. and West, G. M. and Dobie, G. and Lardner, T. and Gachagan, A. (2017) Data-driven analysis of ultrasonic pressure tube inspection data. In: 10th International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control and Human Machine Interface Technologies, 2017-06-11 - 2017-06-15, Hyatt Regency.

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    Pressure tubes are critical components of the CANDU reactors and other pressurized heavy water type reactors, as they contain the nuclear fuel and the coolant. Manufacturing flaws, as well as defects developed during the in-service operation, can lead to coolant leakage and can potentially damage the reactor. The current inspection process of these flaws is based on manually analyzing ultrasonic data received from multiple probes during planned, statutory outages. Recent advances on ultrasonic inspection tools enable the provision of high resolution data of significantly large volumes. This is highlighting the need for an efficient autonomous signal analysis process. Typically, the automation of ultrasonic inspection data analysis is approached by knowledge-based or supervised data-driven methods. This work proposes an unsupervised data-driven framework that requires no explicit rules, nor individually labeled signals. The framework follows a two-stage clustering procedure that utilizes the DBSCAN density-based clustering algorithm and aims to provide decision support for the assessment of potential defects in a robust and consistent way. Nevertheless, verified defect dimensions are essential in order to assess the results and train the framework for unseen defects. Initial results of the implementation are presented and discussed, with the method showing promise as a means of assessing ultrasonic inspection data.