Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is the major factor to reduce the reliability of aged reactor components. Toshiba has developed various laser-based maintenance and repair technologies and applied them to existing nuclear power plants. Laser-based technology is considered to be the best tool for remote processing in nuclear power plants, and particularly so for the maintenance and repair of reactor core components. Accessibility could be drastically improved by a simple handling system owing to the absence of reactive force against laser irradiation and the flexible optical fiber. For the preventive maintenance, laser peening (LP) technology was developed and applied to reactor components in operating BWR plants. LP is a novel process to improve residual stress from tensile to compressive on material surface layer by irradiating focused high-power laser pulses in water. We have developed a fiber-delivered LP system as a preventive maintenance measure against SCC. Laser ultrasonic testing (LUT) has a great potential to be applied to the remote inspection of reactor components. Laser-induced surface acoustic wave (SAW) inspection system was developed using a compact probe with a multi-mode optical fiber and an interferometer. The developed system successfully detected a micro slit of 0.5mm depth on weld metal and heat-affected zone (HAZ). An artificial SCC was also detected by the system. We are developing a new LP system combined with LUT to treat the inner surface of bottom-mounted instruments (BMI) of PWR plants. Underwater laser seal welding (LSW) technology was also developed to apply surface crack. LSW is expected to isolate the crack tip from corrosive water environment and to stop the propagation of the crack. Rapid heating and cooling of the process minimize the heat effect, which extends the applicability to neutron-irradiated material. This paper describes recent advances in the development and application of such laser-based technologies.

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