Westinghouse to apply underwater laser beam welding at Robinson nuclear plant

Source: Westinghouse Electric Co. 

Westinghouse has been awarded a contract to apply the Underwater Laser Beam Welding process (ULBW) at Progress Energy's Robinson nuclear power plant in Hartsville, S.C. This will be the first application of the ULBW process, which has been applied previously in Japan, at a U.S. nuclear plant. 

Developed jointly by Westinghouse and majority owner Toshiba Corporation in a collaborative effort, the ULBW process applies stress corrosion, cracking-resistant weld metal – under water – onto the inside diameter surface of aged components, serving as a method of mitigation and repair. The laser beam's precise heat and dilution controls result in consistent weld quality and high deposit purity. 

At Robinson Unit 2, the process will be applied to reactor vessel nozzle dissimilar metal welds during the fall 2013 outage. 

"Development of the underwater laser welding process allows us to make welds to vessel components without the customer having to drain their vessel," said Nick Liparulo, senior vice president, Westinghouse Nuclear Services. "This results in a much shorter implementation schedule and dramatically reduced exposure for maintenance crews and plant personnel." 

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