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Kinectrics Advances Design of Nuclear Inspection Tool for Hydrogen Concentration Measurement

August 15, 2011

Based on past technical success, the Kinectrics Inspection and Maintenance Solutions division will continue to independently develop and advance design of the Terminal Solid Solubility (TSS) nuclear inspection tool. TSS inspection is used to perform in-situ hydrogen concentration measurements on a fuel channel and is a key element in pressure tube fitness-for-service assessments.
 
Zirconium pressure tubes slowly absorb hydrogen from the primary heat transport coolant while in service, and the hydrogen concentration affects the remaining service life. The ongoing requirement for utilities to periodically inspect pressure tubes to monitor their service condition can benefit greatly from an optimized TSS tool. 
 
Originally used in reactor inspection campaigns in 2003, the TSS program entered a manufacturing optimization phase in 2006 that saw great strides in its development. Kinectrics has made extensive design and operational improvements to TSS reliability and function in recent years and in 2009, negotiated the exclusive right to use / modify TSS for CANDU fuel channel inspections worldwide.
 
In late 2010, the TSS tool successfully passed a critical field test when it was used extensively as part of a major nuclear station inspection project In South Korea. In Korea, the Kinectrics IMS team carried out TSS inspections on four of a nuclear station’s fuel channels over a two-day period, and a valid TSS result was obtained from every location. Overall quality of the TSS project data was excellent and consistent with expectations.
 
Based on this success, the IMS team has had numerous inquiries from other CANDU facilities regarding TSS and is now exploring optimization of the tool for different station requirements.