TARGET – Development of Submersible ROV System for BMN Inspection


  • Josip Arland INETEC – Institute for nuclear technology d.o.o.
  • Krunoslav Markulin INETEC – Institute for nuclear technology d.o.o.
  • Nikola Pavlović INETEC – Institute for nuclear technology d.o.o.



Submersible ROV, BMN Inspection, nondestrucitve examination, ultrasonic testing examination, ultrasonic examination technique


Most PWRs have penetrations in the RPV lower heads for in-core nuclear instrumentation. These penetrations generally are made of nickel-based Inconel Alloy 600. Weld materials are typically Alloy 82/182. Operating conditions of PWR plants are causing nickel-based alloys cracking through a process called primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC). In 2003, the licensee for the South Texas Project Unit 1 (STP-1) identified apparent boron deposits on the lower RPV head near two bottom mounted nozzles (BMNs). The NRC issued Bulletin 2003-02 to obtain information on licensee inspection activities and inspection plans for the RPV lower head. EPRI issued MRP-206 report that provides inspection and evaluation guidelines for BMNs for PWR plants, including guidelines for periodic bare metal visual examination for evidence of primary coolant leakage, or periodic non-visual nondestructive examinations for indications of service-induced cracking. The non-visual inspections (ultrasonic testing examination) may detect service-induced degradation before through-wall cracking, leakage, circumferential cracking below the bottom of the J-groove weld, release of loose parts, or incipient boric acid wastage of the low-alloy steel reactor vessel lower head material occurs. Therefore, periodic examinations will adequately manage potential for cracking by PWSCC and preserve structural integrity. INETEC developed TARGET system for BMNs inspection, consisted of submersible ROV and specially designed probe, composed of several UT probes. UT system and technique to detect, length and depth size the service-induced degradation in the BMN volume material is developed. The EPRI NDE Center performed a technical review and validated INETEC’s ultrasonic examination technique for BMNs. Aforementioned validation was done according to requirements defined by: 1) MRP-206, 2) MRP-411.


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