Areva has developed a new technology for nuclear reactor vessel inspections that is designed to optimize both the safety and reliability of operations.

Called Lower Girth Weld Inspection Tool (LGWIT), the automated tool will enable plant personnel to remotely perform inspections through narrow gaps of the reactor vessel internals.

Designed to meet the criteria of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Materials Reliability Program and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s NUREG 1766 regulation, the tool has already been used to perform several inspections for US utility customers.

Areva Installed Base Business Division executive vice president Philippe Samama said, "Building on AREVA’s expertise in nuclear reactor outages and maintenance, our teams have developed an inspection technology which can be used in all types of pressurized water reactors. By providing safer and more efficient inspections, this tool can support utilities around the world in optimising the long term reliability of their operations."

LGWIT replaces the need for direct human intervention, increasing efficiency and contributing to significant cost savings for each inspection performed.

The inspection of reactor vessel internals is critical to ensure the safe, long-term operation of nuclear power plants.