Non-destructive testing specialists at Russia’s Tomsk Polytechnic Institute (TPU) is to develop methods for checking the reliability of seams on components of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) reactor, TPU said on 11 August. The specialists will develop methods and programmes for testing welded joints using ultrasound on important elements of the ITER fusion reactor, under construction in France.

The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INP SB RAS) is developing a number of devices to diagnose plasma parameters in the reactor. The components of these devices are welded and the quality and reliability of the seams need to be highly accurate. TPU specialists will develop methods to control their quality.

"ITER is a nuclear facility with very high requirements for the quality and safety of all systems used. In particular, 100% quality control of all welded seams is required. TPU is solving this important scientific and technical problem, the control of seams, using ultrasound,” said Alexander Burdakov, adviser to the Directorate of INP SB RAS and head of the INP SB RAS Laboratory. The devices and parts, which are to be checked using TPU's methods, are large in size, which makes other non-destructive testing methods such as x-ray extremely inconvenient, the researchers said.

"This will be the second project for ITER, involving TPU specialists. Previously, we created an ultrasonic tomograph to inspect the details of the reactor's first wall; it is unequalled in Russia or throughout the world. It is currently in experimental service at the DV Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA)," said Dmitry Sednev, head of the TPU Engineering School of Non-Destructive Testing. This previous project demonstrated to international experts that the instruments and methods for control offered by TPU are applicable to ITER and provide the required level of quality control, Sednev added. TPU is to present its methods and programmes for ultrasonic testing in November 2020.