In Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) which are sodium cooled, the steam generator (SG) heat exchanger tubes separate the low pressure sodium flowing in the SG vessel with the high pressure water-steam in tubes. During In-Service Inspection (ISI), sodium is first drained and then SG tubes are cooled down to the room temperature. After sodium draining, due to the high temperature (more than 500 °C), sodium adheres to SG tubes and structures around (SG support plates, welds) in a thin layer, filling eventually the gaps between SG support plates and tubes. During ISI, SG tubes are inspected for cracks and corrosions using differential eddy currents (EC) probes. Due to the high electrical conductivity of sodium adhering to the outer SG tube surface, the eddy current testing (ECT) signal modifies, in accord with sodium layer thickness or sodium deposits located on the outer SG tube surface. The sodium wetting properties depends on several factors as: material surface, temperature and sodium wetting time. The effect of sodium adhering to the outer SG tube on ECT signals were measured using a small mock-up tank (2 m high and 0.7 m in diameter) in which were introduced two SG tubes similar with the ones used in the Monju FBR (one tube is ferromagnetic and made of 2.25Cr–1Mo alloy, while the other one is made of SUS321 and is austenitic). Defects, SG support plates (on both helical and straight part of the tube) and welds were added to tubes and the ECT signal was measured before and after sodium draining. Variations in the sodium layer thickness and consequently its effect on ECT signals were measured by filling and draining the tank three times in order to recreate each time new layers of sodium. The paper describes the experimental conditions and the ECT results for both types of SG tubes by comparing the defects, SG support plates and weld signals before and after draining of sodium. Additionally, sodium structures were examined visually using a VideoScope camera, confirming the recorded ECT signals. The paper also presents details about sodium layer thickness measurements in several parts of SG tubes (near defect, SP, weld, bend, helical tube, straight tube) by scratching and collecting the sodium on a small area of 20mm×20mm. The volume of sodium drops is also estimated. The measurement results showed that there are significant differences in the sodium layer thickness depending on the SG tube material.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.