For safety operation of nuclear power plants, soundness assurance of structures has been strongly required. In order to evaluate properties of inner defects at plant structures quantitatively, non-destructive inspection using ultrasonic testing (UT) has performed an important role for plant maintenances. At nuclear power plants, there are many structures made of cast austenitic stainless steel (e.g. casings, valve gages, pipes and so on). However, UT has not achieved enough accuracy measurement at cast stainless steels due to the noise from large grains. In order to overcome the problem, we have developed comprehensively analyzable phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) system.

We have been noticing that dependency of echo intensity from defect is different from grain noises when PAUT conditions (for example, ultrasonic incident angles and focal depths) were continuously changed. Analyzing the tendency of echoes from comprehensive PAUT conditions, defect echoes could be distinguished from the noises. Meanwhile, in order to minimize the inspection time on-site, we have developed the algorithms and the full matrix capture (FMC) data acquisition system. In this paper, the authors confirmed the detectability of the PAUT system applying cast austenitic stainless steel (316 stainless steel) specimens which have sand-blasted surface and 3 slits which made by electric discharge machining (EDM).

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