News & Views, Volume 49 | Inspection Optimization: Probabilistic Fracture Mechanics

By:  Scott Chesworth (SI) and Bob Grizzi (EPRI)

News & Views, Volume 49 | Inspection Optimization- Probabilistic Fracture Mechanics

The goal was to determine whether the frequency of current inspection requirements was justified or could be optimized (i.e., increase the interval of certain inspections to devote more attention to higher-value inspections and thereby maximize overall plant safety).

Executive Summary
Welds and similar components in nuclear power plants are subjected to periodic examination under ASME Code, Section XI.  Typically, examinations are performed during every ten-year inspection interval using volumetric examination techniques, or a combination of volumetric and surface examination techniques.  Nuclear plants worldwide have performed numerous such inspections over plant history with few service induced flaws identified.