After two years of work, China has developed narrow-gap argon arc welding equipment for welding the main pipelines of nuclear power plants, China National Nuclear Corporation announced.
China had, until now, had to rely on imported technology which had become a problem for main pipeline welding.
On 8 December, a full-scale simulation of the hot section of a plant's main pipeline welded by the narrow gap argon arc welding robot independently developed by CNNC passed a non-destructive test and met the nuclear quality requirements. This indicates that China has “the ability to independently develop high-precision nuclear power welding equipment, and has achieved independence in nuclear power’s key core construction equipment,” CNNC said.
“The welding quality of main pipeline joints directly affects the safe operation of nuclear power plants. Nuclear power technology has developed from second generation to the third generation. According to design requirements, the main pipeline welding process has also developed from manual to automatic welding. Compared with traditional manual welding, narrow gap automatic welding has the advantage of fewer thermal cycles, less welding deformation, more accurate positioning, and higher welding efficiency,” CNNC noted.
It took the technical innovation team of China National Nuclear Corporation No. 5 more than two years to independently develop narrow-gap argon arc welding equipment. “From design, processing, assembly to debugging, it has overcome more than 20 technical difficulties and successfully developed a narrow-gap argon arc welding robot,” CNNC said.
The independently-developed welding robot is customised and developed on the basis of more than 10 years of nuclear power engineering practice, experience and data, CNNC added. “It incorporates intelligent technologies such as remote data processing, visual sensing, and language recognition to further reduce the difficulty of operation.”
Photo: Narrow gap argon arc welding robot developed by CNNC (Credit: CNNC)