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Nuclear Energy

Nondestructive Examination (NDE)

Decades of developing methods for the reliable detection of materials degradation

Nondestructive Examination

PNNL researchers conduct NDE using advanced phased array ultrasonic equipment to volumetrically inspect nuclear power plant piping mock-ups.

PNNL's NDE group has developed and evaluated technology for a variety of industries, including conventional and advanced nuclear reactors, the petro-chemical industry, nuclear waste tanks, and national security. In particular, PNNL has served as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's go-to organization in the development and evaluation of NDE techniques.

For example, PNNL developed ASME Section XI Risk-Informed in-service inspection standards, we've been instrumental in the development of phased array ultrasound techniques for cast stainless steel, and we have conducted international round-robin technique evaluations.

Techniques and focus areas include:


  • Digital Radiography
  • Acoustic Emission
  • Eddy Current
  • Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer
  • Phased Array Ultrasound
  • Guided Wave Ultrasonics
  • Non-linear Ultrasound
  • Acoustic Microscopy
  • Cable NDE Inspection
  • Time/Frequency/Domain/Reflectometry
  • Dielectric Spectroscopy
  • On-line Condition Monitoring

NDS Modeling

  • Finite element and semi-analytical simulations for ultrasound, guided waves, electromagnetics and eddy currents.


  • Inconel 600/690 Tubing
  • Control Rod Drive Nozzles
  • Bottom Mounted Instrument Nozzles
  • Cast Stainless Steels
  • Austenitic Dissimilar Metal Welds
  • Cold Spray & other coatings
  • Advanced Reactor Parts in Liquid Sodium
  • Cables and Cable Insulation
  • Concrete
  • Friction Stir Welding
  • Nuclear Fuel/Fuel Cladding
  • Waste Tank Inspection

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Nuclear Energy

Research Areas & Services