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Technical Tune-Up: IAEA Supports Pakistan in Conducting In-Service Inspections

Participants at the workshop, organized together with Pakistan's National Centre for Non Destructive Testing (NCNDT), 18-20 April 2016, Islamabad.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently organized a workshop to develop capacities for both pre-service inspection (PSI) and in-service inspection (ISI) of the components that are vital to the safety and performance of Pakistan’s operating nuclear power plants (NPPs). The workshop was organized together with the National Centre for Non Destructive Testing (NCNDT), at NCNDT premises from 18 to 20 April 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

As outlined in the short-term and medium-term goals contained in Pakistan’s Country Programme Framework, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has identified nuclear safety as a significant priority area for the country, and intends to assess comprehensively the integrity of both existing and planned NPPs. For such assessments to be thorough and exhaustive, they will have to include non-destructive testing (NDT) of the piping systems, steam generators, coolant loops and other vital structural components, both during pre- and in-service inspections of the NPPs.

Participants at the workshop, organized together with the National Centre for Non Destructive Testing (NCNDT).

During the three-day workshop, two international experts and one expert from the IAEA provided 16 informative presentations on the various technical fields which form the foundation of PSI and ISI protocols including advanced NDT research and field experience, inspection qualification, and risk informed ISI. The latest breakthroughs and recent experience across several disciplines were presented, including qualification, validation and inspection methods in NPPs, data acquisition and analysis of eddy current testing of steam generator tubes, and different mechanized inspection systems for reactor pressure vessel heads.

The fifty participants at the workshop, representing a wide range of national organizations including the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Chashma NPPs and NCNDT, took full advantage of the opportunity to ask the experts many thought-provoking questions, and to discuss technical problems and challenges that they face in the areas of PSI and ISI in Pakistan.

Background

Pakistan is currently operating three NPPs which, put together, account for approximately 4% of the country’s generated electricity, while an additional two NPPs are under construction. In order to stay abreast of population growth and the accompanying growth in demand for reliable sources of electric power, Pakistan intends to begin construction of two new NPPs, designated Karachi 2 and Karachi 3, near the already operation Karachi Unit 1.

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