I had the honor of being a part of the INETEC team which successfully completed the qualification of equipment, procedures and staff for conducting ultrasound testing according to the requirements of the ASME Code Section XI standard, Supplement 4 & 6 and Supplement 7. In layman's terms, we earned the certificate that enables INETEC’s personnel and equipment to ultrasonically examine critical parts of the most important components in a nuclear power plant - welded joints and shell of the reactor pressure vessel. This qualification is of great importance since the certificate was issued by an internationally recognized organization, the EPRI Institute (Electric Power Research Institute). Intense preparation for the qualification process began in late November 2020 in the company while the qualification completed in early March 2021 after two months spent on the EPRI premises in North Carolina, the USA. EPRI staff was very professional and professionally guided us through the qualification process and on several occasions showed enthusiasm for INETEC’s equipment quality and the speed of our work. It was an extremely important experience for me personally, but also a big step for INETEC because the complete testing system (instruments, probes, scanners, etc.) was manufactured in our company. I believe that INETEC’s equipment was given this extremely important reference because being qualified to test the reactor pressure vessel also means that INETEC can meet any other requirements that the industry may set.
During my stay at the institute, I met several top experts in the field of non-destructive testing in the nuclear sector, but I would point out a representative of EPRI who was very pleasant to work with throughout our stay in the United States. He was ready to share his professional knowledge at any moment as well as his experience from previous jobs. It is interesting that he used to work as a "host" in the city and he worked with famous musicians such as Tina Turner, Prince, the band Kiss, etc. After talking to him I definitely didn’t have shortage of ideas of how to spend my free time in North Carolina.
It was also a challenge for INETEC because the qualification process was carried out using INETEC’s equipment (ultrasound probes, software, instruments). I emphasize that it was 'a challenge' because a lot of time and material had been invested in the long-term development of ultrasound probes, software and instruments used in the qualification process.
Also, the experience of the staff is invaluable in terms of professional development. I would say that the successful completion of the qualification proved to be a great professional success for INETEC and the individuals who participated in the entire qualification process.
Nikola Babić, NDT Associate