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Innovation in inspection techniques


The work and achievements of ADVISE are expected to have significant impact on several levels:

Reinforcement of the safety features of the Generation-II and –III EU nuclear reactor fleet

ADVISE will particularly contribute to the EU effort to prevent accidents and thereby avoid radioactive releases, by delivering innovative and efficient solutions for currently operating Generation II and III nuclear reactors. The project results, which will be available for use at the end of the project by NPP owners and service inspection providers, will enable performance increases in terms of inspectable depth, defect detection and characterisation accuracy, and inspection time. Repair needs will be identified in a more efficient, timely and accurate manner. This will contribute to reinforce the safety features of the Generation-II and -III EU nuclear reactor fleet.

EU-based NPPs will directly benefit from the results of the project and will see their market profile enhanced: improved confidence in inspection will avoid unnecessary repair with significant cost and exposure implications. On the manufacturing side, the evaluation of the compliance of the most important components for safety is realised under the responsibility of the Nuclear Safety Authorities, and recent reinforcement of state rules about nuclear components defines new needs. The project will help to increase the quality of these components and then decrease the industrial risks during operation.

Economic impact

By providing NDE simulations and analysis tools designed to fulfil the needs of industry, ADVISE will contribute to reduce the cost and to enhance the performances of the inspections. Indeed, an increased use of simulation will enable more reliable inspections while also reducing the number of test samples.

ADVISE will answer sustainable development requirements by implementing methods capable of improving the reliability of component acceptance or rejection decisions and so optimizing component life cycle.

The greatest economic impact of ADVISE is expected for plant owners, followed by in service inspection service providers offering inspection techniques to utilities. By far the most important gain is to be expected if ADVISE succeeds in developing a viable alternative inspection technique for specific high value components, such as the radiographic inspection of cast elbow pipes.

Reinforcement of the EU leadership in reactor design and operation

Optimising the industrial impact is at the heart of the ADVISE project, and involving industrials (even beyond those already involved in the consortium though the IAB) was a cornerstone for building the project. Solving issues related to current inspection methods is actually answering a specific need from the European nuclear industry and will enable to maintain and reinforce their leadership in the operation of their existing nuclear fleet. The ADVISE industrial partners will guarantee the adaptability to industrial needs of the tools and methods developed in the project and ensure their implementation in the industrial context.

On the side of design and manufacturing of new plants, the improvement of the quality of new components will definitely place the industrial entities of the European Union among the best and the most credible ones on the nuclear market.

Scientific impacts

The results from ADVISE will have a strong impact on the scientific community:

The scientific developments are planned to build on world-leading academic research to bring recent and arising capabilities to application in the very important practical context of NPPs, taking advantage of the world-leading research positions of the ADVISE partners. These new capabilities include simulation of weld formation, simulation of wave propagation and scattering by grains and defects, new transducer technology, array imaging algorithms, inverse models and signal interpretation. All of these as academic topics will be of strong scientific interest for which publications will be welcomed by leading journals. Furthermore, application of the new science to the inspection of NPPs will be a most attractive topic for the more applied journals.

The outputs from ADVISE will be presented at leading conferences (ECNDT, WCNDT, QNDE – USA, etc.) creating a strong impact for the academic community, encouraging further scientific work, and raising further interest from industry to engage in follow-on research.

Outside the application context of ADVISE, the research progress will have impact on other branches of science. Weld formation modelling is an important subject for manufacturing in general. The understanding and modelling capability of wave propagation is a very broad topic, with strong interests in geophysics, manufacturing and medicine. Array imaging and interpretation technologies also have relevance to medicine and a diverse range of other fields. The development of transducers and new inspection methodologies for NPPs will be of interest to the whole topic of NDE across all industry sectors, and this will benefit those contexts and also drive new scientific research that aims to bring them further benefits.