During the 2003 outage at the Ringhals Nuclear Plant in Sweden, a leak was found in the vicinity of a Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM) housing nozzle at Unit 1. Based on the ALARA principle for radioactive contamination, a unique repair process was developed. The repair system includes utilization of custom, remotely controlled GTAW-robots, a CNC cutting and finishing machine, snake-arm robots and NDE equipment. The success of the repair solution was based on performing the machining and welding operations from the inside of the SCRAM pipe through the CRDM housing since accessibility from the outside was extremely limited. Before the actual pipe replacement procedure was performed, comprehensive training programs were conducted. Training was followed by certification of equipment, staff and procedures during qualification tests in a full scale mock-up of the housing nozzle. Due to the ingenuity of the overall repair solution and training programs, the actual pipe replacement procedure was completed in less than half the anticipated time. As a result of the successful pipe replacement, the nuclear power plant was returned to normal operation.

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