Laser peening is a process to improve residual stress from tensile to compressive in surface layer of materials by irradiating high-power laser pulses on the material in water. Toshiba has developed a laser peening system composed of Q-switched Nd:YAG laser oscillators, laser delivery equipment and underwater remote handling equipment. We have applied the system for Japanese operating BWR power plants as a preventive maintenance measure for stress corrosion cracking (SCC) on reactor internals like core shrouds or control rod drive (CRD) penetrations since 1999. As for PWRs, alloy 600 or 182 can be susceptible to primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC), and some cracks or leakages caused by the PWSCC have been discovered on penetrations of reactor vessel heads (RVHs), reactor bottom-mounted instrumentation (BMI) nozzles, and others. Taking measures to meet the unconformity of the RVH penetrations, RVHs themselves have been replaced in many PWRs. On the other hand, it’s too time-consuming and expensive to replace BMI nozzles, therefore, any other convenient and less expensive measures are required instead of the replacement. In Toshiba, we carried out various tests for laser-peened nickel base alloys and confirmed the effectiveness of laser peening as a preventive maintenance measure for PWSCC. We have developed a laser peening system for PWRs as well after the one for BWRs, and applied it for BMI nozzles, core deluge line nozzles and primary water inlet nozzles of Ikata Unit 1 and 2 of Shikoku Electric Power Company since 2004, which are Japanese operating PWR power plants. In this system, laser oscillators and control devices were packed into two containers placed on the operating floor inside the reactor containment vessel. Laser pulses were delivered through twin optical fibers and irradiated on two portions in parallel to reduce operation time. For BMI nozzles, we developed a tiny irradiation head for small tubes and we peened the inner surface around J-groove welds after laser ultrasonic testing (LUT) as the remote inspection, and we peened the outer surface and the weld for Ikata Unit 2 supplementary. For core deluge line nozzles and primary water inlet nozzles, we peened the inner surface of the dissimilar metal welding, which is of nickel base alloy, joining a safe end and a low alloy metal nozzle. In this paper, the development and the actual application of the laser peening system for PWR power plants will be described.

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