In a word
E-tubing is an innovative testing method that can be used to diagnose welds in real time while at the same time preventing radiation exposure. E-Tubing enables different jobs to be performed concurrently.
A steam-generator replacement is a large-scale maintenance job involving the inspection of at least 40 welds on small-bore instrumentation tubes.
The inspection method being used up to now (radiography) is not suitable for real-time diagnostics and requires the use of a radioactive source that can expose workers to ionising radiation. It also requires specific arrangements to be established with close supervision.
E-Tubing is a novel system that uses an electromagnetic method to generate Eddy currents inside the weld being inspected. If there is a fault, a sensor detects changes in current and the technician tasked with analysing the signals is immediately made aware of any anomalies.
With the E-Tubing system, fewer workers are required (2 instead of 4) and diagnostic time is significantly reduced (15 minutes compared with 24 hours).
E-Tubing also protects workers from potential radiation exposure risks that they may face when performing radiographic examinations (life-saving rule no. 5 within the DPNT).
Last but not least, acquisition data is scanned as opposed to radiography results, which come in the form of x-rays. Scanning enables data to be recorded and re-read while also having beneficial effects for the environment as it does not require the use of chemicals for developing films.
This novel technology could be used by other EDF personnel in order to reduce the number of radioactive sources required when inspecting thin-walled components during the manufacturing process or to monitor the condition of components during plant operations.
Why is this a game changer ?
- Eliminates the need for 40 to 100 radiography examinations per job.
- Eliminates the risk of exposure to ionising radiation due to the use of radioactive sources.
- 15 minutes instead of 24 hours
- Diagnostic time significantly reduced.
- Saving of 1 to 3 days
- Time saved in diagnosing, repairing and re-inspecting faulty welds.