The two main activities of the Reactor Safety Division of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN/DSR) involve the technical support expertise for nuclear safety authorities and the research associated with this expertise mission. As regards its research activities, the IRSN has undertaken research and development actions in the field of non-destructive testing of materials in co-operation with laboratories of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
At the outset of the industrialization process, this research work aims at solving the most difficult problems encountered in the course of inspections performed on the materials of nuclear installation components during in-service inspection. The purpose is first of all to demonstrate the capabilities of new inspection techniques based on the use of ultrasonic phased array transducers, or even eddy current flexible probes, for a better identification of defects in components difficult to inspect especially because of their complex shapes like small elbows or because of their coarse grain metallurgical structure. This research work which takes into account the shapes and the structure of components as well as defects and pays great attention to the case of real flaws aims also at simulating controls through mock-up experiments intended to validate simulation models. The contribution of this research work mostly related to ultrasonics and eddy currents and more recently to radiography simulation is presented and some examples are described.