Power plant inspection services use advanced technology to inspect power plants. The technology includes the use of drones such as Flyability’s Elios UAV and highly sensitive leak detection equipment. These inspections require the shutdown of the power plant to a level of 20 percent and then a complete power up process that requires at least six hours. The process is both complex and time-consuming, so power plant inspection services need to be extremely reliable.
Flyability’s Elios UAV
The decommissioning team of a nuclear power plant in Ukraine used Flyability’s Elios UAV to survey the facility’s Reactor Five. The visual data the drone provided allowed stakeholders to assess the condition of the facility for the first time since the 1986 disaster. The drone captured a wealth of information, including determining that there was no nuclear waste in the area.
The Elios UAV is a lightweight aircraft that weighs only 1.6 pounds and 720 grams. Its ultra-low RF power output of 100 mW ensures safe flight over nuclear facilities and has proven its efficiency in the nuclear environment. The drone can fly over protective shields that can be up to ten meters high and are difficult to access by human inspectors.
NRC’s performance indicators
The NRC’s new inspection assessment process makes greater use of objective performance indicators. These are combined with the inspection findings to provide information that the commission needs to produce quarterly plant performance reviews. These reviews are published on the NRC’s website. The NRC’s proposed changes make these indicators more useful to plant owners and operators.
The NRC collects data from inspections and licensees for the performance indicators. Then, it calculates a range of performance indicators based on this data and compares them against objective thresholds.
Remote visual inspections
Remote visual inspections (RVI) are a cost-effective method for evaluating power plants. They eliminate the need for costly field work and minimize downtime. The use of video cameras, light source tools, and software makes RVI a safe and convenient way to check machinery and internal components.
These inspections are noninvasive, minimizing the risk of contamination and reducing plant downtime and cost. They also have a number of environmental benefits.
Drone inspections are a great way to inspect power plants without disrupting production. By eliminating the need for manned inspections, they can save companies thousands of dollars. Aside from reducing costs associated with physical inspections, drones can also reduce operational downtime. A company can save up to four days per inspection by using drones to survey their assets. This can contribute to a higher ROI. Also, drones can help reduce the risk of liability claims by minimizing the number of downtimes at a power plant.
Drone inspections also reduce operator exposure to radiation, which is another significant cost savings. Infrared inspections can also reduce inspection time. Drones require the services of experienced pilots with specialized payloads. Drones can provide high-resolution images that help operators determine where problems may lie. These images can be viewed via smart phone apps or on-site computers.
Power plants are complex sites with a large number of moving parts and large components. They must meet regulatory requirements and site-specific conditions to remain safe and operate efficiently. The right inspection service provider can ensure that a plant is safe and functional by incorporating a variety of advanced inspection methods. Using drones, for example, eliminates human risks and ensures that all inspections are thorough. They can provide visual data without entering the asset, and can also assist with documentation and reporting.
In addition to conducting the necessary inspections, a power plant can benefit from a third-party review of its safety plan. The PUC can also conduct periodic reviews to ensure that the plant is operating safely. The new Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed greater emphasis on safety and has moved away from paper inspections to tech inspections.