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Strategic NDE Results Collaboration Yields Industry Insights

This paper will briefly discuss the U.S. nuclear buried pipe integrity program, the infrastructure created for information sharing, and the data mining results related to the threat of external corrosion from more than 4,500 inspections on buried pipe at more than 60 power generation sites.

Product Number: 51317--8859-SG
ISBN: 8859 2017 CP
Author: Steve Biagiotti
Publication Date: 2017
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In 2007 the U.S. nuclear power industry began experiencing buried and underground piping leaks. Nuclear power plants can have between 10 and 50 miles (16-80 km) of buried piping per generating unit. This piping is made from a variety of materials (e.g. carbon steels cast irons stainless steel and other alloy materials) some of which was installed with or without coatings and some of which operates with or without cathodic protection (CP). Many of the pipes can contain tritium in the fluids which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen created during the nuclear fission process. The industry was quick to respond to this emerging issue and elected to leverage the recent integrity management experiences from the pipeline industry. The resulting processes were 100% adopted by U.S. nuclear operators for implementation with 5 years. As part of this effort a standard database was developed and provided to all operators as well as a process to follow for implementation. Compliance reporting metrics were established as part of this process and all operators committed to share information about the inspections performed. These metrics were designed to evaluate technology and program effectiveness on a semi-annual basis for aggregation and information dissemination as many had not performed these types of inspections before and they all needed information on technology applicability performance and effectiveness. Furthermore data analytics were used to provide further insight into several degradation mechanisms. The data mining effort was intended to provide threat prioritization guidance into the selection of excavation sites. This paper will briefly discuss the U.S. nuclear buried pipe integrity program the infrastructure created for information sharing and the data mining results from more than 4500 inspections on buried pipe at more than 60 sites.

Key words: Pipeline integrity management, nuclear power plant, buried piping, data analytics, data mining, NDE, external corrosion, risk prioritization.

In 2007 the U.S. nuclear power industry began experiencing buried and underground piping leaks. Nuclear power plants can have between 10 and 50 miles (16-80 km) of buried piping per generating unit. This piping is made from a variety of materials (e.g. carbon steels cast irons stainless steel and other alloy materials) some of which was installed with or without coatings and some of which operates with or without cathodic protection (CP). Many of the pipes can contain tritium in the fluids which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen created during the nuclear fission process. The industry was quick to respond to this emerging issue and elected to leverage the recent integrity management experiences from the pipeline industry. The resulting processes were 100% adopted by U.S. nuclear operators for implementation with 5 years. As part of this effort a standard database was developed and provided to all operators as well as a process to follow for implementation. Compliance reporting metrics were established as part of this process and all operators committed to share information about the inspections performed. These metrics were designed to evaluate technology and program effectiveness on a semi-annual basis for aggregation and information dissemination as many had not performed these types of inspections before and they all needed information on technology applicability performance and effectiveness. Furthermore data analytics were used to provide further insight into several degradation mechanisms. The data mining effort was intended to provide threat prioritization guidance into the selection of excavation sites. This paper will briefly discuss the U.S. nuclear buried pipe integrity program the infrastructure created for information sharing and the data mining results from more than 4500 inspections on buried pipe at more than 60 sites.

Key words: Pipeline integrity management, nuclear power plant, buried piping, data analytics, data mining, NDE, external corrosion, risk prioritization.

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