The goal of this TACIS project U2.01/97 is to improve the operational safety of the Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants, through increasing the quality of Non Destructive Testing performed for In Service Inspection.
Two specific objectives were set to the project:
• Provide support to the existing Non-Destructive Examination Training and Certification Facility (NDEF) for implementation of Training and Qualification of the NDT personnel of the Ukrainian NPPs in accordance with the Ukrainian requirements based on standard EN 473. As stated in the Terms of Reference, this project concerns the first steps in developing the Centre, and other developments are necessary in view of future full scope activity.
• Provide support to the Beneficiary in preparation of the basic documents that will define the functions and structure of the NDT personnel Certification System in Ukraine.
This report presents all particular results achieved in relation to the specific objectives. It also assesses the impact regarding the final goal through analysis of the effective improvement of safety. Finally it provides some recommendations for the future in order to take full benefit of the project results
Analysis of needs:
The following inputs to the Training and Examination Centre were considered necessary to start the operation:
- An infrastructure correctly equipped
- Specific NDT equipment and test specimens
- Pedagogical tools for all training modules; 6 NDT methods are considered : visual testing (VT), penetrant testing (PT), magnetic testing (MT), eddy current testing (ET), ultrasonic testing (UT) and radiography (RT). The training modules should include program, manual, slides, test and planning of session
- Qualified personnel to operate the Centre and perform the training and examination activities
- A documented organization assuring and maintaining adequate level of quality
- A minimum experience of using all means within the structure established in the project
Regarding the establishment of a new Certification System the following needs were identified:
- Definition of a general scheme for the nuclear sector that allows conformity to EN 473 and that could be integrated in Ukrainian present certification rules valid for other industrial sectors
- Description of bodies constituting the system
- Documented organization for the main parts (Certification Body and Examination Centre)
- Questionnaires for theoretical examinations and practical trials.
The project was built to provide all these inputs to the Beneficiary (Energoatom) and to the end-user (NDEF); moreover it was conducted following a methodology that maximizes the quality of the results, their understanding and appropriation by the future actors of NDT personnel training and certification.
3.1. Establishment of the Training Centre
3.1.1. Training for personnel running the NDT Centre
Two managers of NDEF have been trained during seminars and practical training in France and Belgium; the training was devoted to the management of Quality Assurance, to the organization of a training centre and of a certification system, and to the drafting of related documents. The managers of NDEF have increased their capabilities to operate the Training and Examination Centre according to high quality standards. This will ease obtaining formal recognition of the Centre, and ensures correct implementation of QA in the future.
Six formal sessions were organized for instructors, covering technical, methodological and pedagogical aspects. A total of 16 instructors, from all Ukrainian NPPs and from NDEF, participated to some of these sessions. Continuous guidance was also provided during practical implementation of received knowledge: most of the instructors participated to this "on the job" training.
Instructors are now available to perform professionally at the NDT training Centre. They have the knowledge and the competencies to create training modules, develop training documents and organise training sessions. They have also pedagogical capabilities for teaching the NDT methods to trainees. For each NDT method there are two or more specialists available.
A general training program for instructors was developed and provided; the NDT training centre has also gained a trainer's training methodology, and experience of applying it according to the local context. This allows future development of the centre and reinforcement of its human resources.
Some NDT instructors (8) working for the Training Centre have been certified for level III according to the requirements of the Ukrainian Certification system, for the 6 considered NDT methods (a total of 18 man-methods; at least 2 instructors per method). With these certified instructors, the NDT training Centre has the necessary human resources to operate as a recognized Centre. Two technicians of NDEF were trained, together with the instructors, for the practical organization of training session and exercises with NDT equipment. This training must
be completed when equipment is delivered to the training centre.
3.1.2. Selection and preparation of the basic infrastructure
An adequate infrastructure was chosen for the NDT Training Centre; facilities were selected in buildings from the Taras Shevchenko University of Kiev and from the Paton Welding Institute.
The following rooms were renovated and are now ready for use:
- Laboratory for surface methods (PT, MT and VT) including new water supply and ventilation systems, classroom facilities, room for storage of chemicals and a small office for management of this laboratory.
- Laboratory for RT method, including room specifically designed with necessary radiation protection, laboratory for film development and room for film interpretation and analysis (could also be used as classroom for small group).
- Storage room for test specimens, equipped with shelves for heavy component.
- Office for administration of training and examination, and archiving the files, equipped with adequate furniture.
- Corridor of the Training Centre.
The NDT Training Center has now the necessary infrastructure for initial operation (basic training and qualification in 6 NDT methods). In each room and laboratory, technical facilities are installed as needed by each NDT method. They have been built and renovated according to requirements allowing good conditions for training and maintaining the quality and operability of equipment and specimens.
3.1.3. Definition and collection of the NDT equipment
- Complete list of the various equipment items and consumables identified as necessary to operate the Centre (full scope activity)
- List of already available equipment
- Some equipment was handed over to start implementation of test training sessions
3.1.4. Definition and collection of the test specimens
- Complete list of calibration samples required for NDT operation and guidelines to determine a set of training and examination specimens (for full scope activity)
- No specimens are available and none could be collected at no cost.
3.1.5. Establishment of the trainees' training programmes
Programs have been defined and exist for the 6 NDT basic methods and for 3 levels. They are based on EN 473 and the requirements of Ukrainians regulations. They all have been approved by the Beneficiary NAEC "ENERGOATOM", as applicable for the Nuclear Industry.
3.1.6. Drawing and edition of the training manuals
Manuals for the 6 NDT methods have been developed and are available at the NDT Training
Centre. They are written in Russian, and applicable for level I and II.
The manuals cover the defined training programs; training courses using these manuals will therefore be recognized within the certification process of NDT operators. They have all been approved by the Beneficiary NAEC "ENERGOATOM", as applicable for the Nuclear Industry. The instructors have gained practical experience in designing and writing training manuals; they will be able to adapt existing manuals or create new ones in the future, maintaining the quality level of the Training Centre.
3.1.7. Preparation of pedagogic supports
Pedagogic tools have been developed in the form of slides from PowerPoint presentation (in Russian); they are available at the NDT Training Center for the 6 NDT methods and for level I and II.
Each presentation includes the necessary information to teach the subject to trainees. They have been developed in accordance with the requirements for recognition of the Training Centre (European and Ukrainian rules); they cover the approved programs and are coherent with the manuals.
A pedagogic video film on ET method has also been provided to the Training Centre. All these presentations have been approved by the project manager from the Beneficiary -NAEC "ENERGOATOM" as applicable for the Nuclear Industry.
The instructors and experts of NDEF have gained practical experience in designing and editing PowerPoint training modules; they will be able to adapt them or create new ones in the future, maintaining the quality level of the Training Centre.
3.1.8. Designing the organisation of a training session
The specific organisation of a training session is described in a document containing the objectives, the content, the preliminary requirements for the trainees, practical information and the schedule of the whole session.
Such description is prepared in Russian for each of the three "test sessions" implemented within the project.
These documents will serve as useful examples for guidance of other instructors in the preparation of future training sessions at the Centre.
In addition to these expected documents, a procedure for development of training modules has been proposed, as a guide during the project, and help for potential development of new modules in the future.
A specific "Ukrainian training approach" gathering various experiences has been developed and mastered by the instructors. This was possible because of the good collaboration between all experts, with different experience and knowledge, and because of the strong will, not only to produce documents, but to increase the know-how and expertise of the instructors through creative work.
3.1.9. Preparation of the trainee's evaluation at the end of the training session
Questionnaires have been created for level I and II, for the 6 NDT methods. These questions must be used at the end of training sessions for testing the knowledge gained by trainees during these sessions.
Testing questionnaires contain theoretical questions and practical exercises; they reflect all the subjects in accordance with training programs and contents of training modules.
All questions have been saved in a computer database; a software has also been developed for self-training and preparation to certification exams. All these questionnaires have been approved by the project manager from the Beneficiary -NAEC "ENERGOATOM" as applicable for the Nuclear Industry.
3.2. Procurement of NDT equipment and test specimens
3.2.1. Establishment of equipment and specimen list
Starting from initial expectation of the Beneficiary and end-user (complete set of equipment and specimens necessary for full scope activity, a list of equipment and specimens to be procured was drafted by defining priorities and selection principles in order to limit the scope to the amount of the available budget.
3.2.2. Establishment of equipment and specimen specifications
The following documents were issued:
- A technical specification prepared and approved for an open international tender for purchasing equipment and test specimens
- Evaluation criteria tables
These documents were written to answer specifically the needs of the NDT training and Examination Centre; they were thoroughly studied by the project partners to provide assurance that the equipment and specimens effectively proposed as result of a call for tender would really correspond to expectations.
3.3. Implementation of the Training Centre operation
3.3.1. Training operation start-up
- Three test training sessions have been carried out for MT, ET and UT.
- NDT personnel from Ukrainian NPPs was trained during these sessions
- Evaluation tools have been developed and implemented (detailed observation grid and questionnaire for trainees); their use is simple and allows continuous improvement.
As a result of this task, six instructors have had an opportunity to act as trainers. Their work was evaluated and they have been informed with the contents of this evaluation. The six instructors are ready for giving courses and also training new instructors.
In general, the NDT Training Center has now sufficient material and experience to organize training sessions according to initial expectation, and maintain their level in the future.
3.3.2. Training procedure drawing
An organization procedure of the Training Centre was drafted by NDEF experts, with guidance and example from WE experts. It was regularly improved to take into account Comments and feedback from the training sessions. The final version was issued after the audits
3.3.3. Training quality program drawing
The Quality Manual of the Training Centre was drafted by NDEF experts, with guidance from WE experts. It was regularly improved in function of comments and feedback from the training sessions. The final version was issued after the audits. The Quality Manual is part of the documented Quality System developed for implementation
&t the Training Centre. This system is based on ISO 9001:2000 standards. Besides the Quality Manual and the Organization procedure, other lower level instructions and procedures have been drafted for operation of the Training Centre. The Training Centre manager, the QA responsible and NDEF director have a deep understanding of this quality system, because they were directly involved in its development.
3.3.4. Quality assurance internal audits
Two internal audits have been performed :
- The first internal audit, conducted by a WE expert during the second test session, assessed the quality system with reference to ISO 9001:2000 standards and requirements for recognition by the Personnel Certification Body. A report was issued with many practical recommendations for improvement. Actions performed for improvement were documented.
- The second internal audit, conducted by the Training Centre staff during the third test session, was a management review implemented according to the requirement of the Quality System; it also serves as preparation for the external audit. A report was issued, with description of correctives actions implemented.
Through these audits, the quality documents and the organization of the Centre were revised and improved; the Training Centre management and quality responsible also gained experience and guidance for future implementation of quality when the Training Centre will be effectively operating at full speed.
3.3.5. Quality assurance audit by an independent body
An external audit was conducted by the Personnel Certification Body (Ukrexpert). The audit aimed at verifying conformity to ISO 9001:2000 standards and to prepare for official recognition of the Training Centre within the NDT personnel certification system.
The Quality System was evaluated as acceptable; some minor non-conformities were corrected. Because the Training Centre is not yet officially in operation (lack of equipment and specimens), the real implementation of the system is only starting and will need to be verified in more details in the future. A report of the audit was issued. Taking into account the remarks in the report, the Quality Manual and the Organization Procedure final version were issued and approved after the audit.
3.4. Establishment of the NDT personnel certification system
3.4.1. Definition of the certification organism
A recommended model for a complete system for certification of NDT personnel of Nuclear Power Plants was defined after analysis of Ukrainian situation and WE experience; the system was proposed and promoted. This system will allow application of the new certification general procedure, when approved as normative document or Nuclear Industry branch standard.
The new system simplifies the certification scheme by being integrated in an active system for NDT personnel certification that includes other industry branches. It will thus take advantage of already operating structure and organisms, and will only require minor adaptations.
The new system allows conformity to EN 473, a European norm which is the basis for the corresponding standard in Ukraine.
All organisations constituting the new proposed system are defined and established within the project. The QA program of the Personnel Certification Body is in accordance with EN 45013.
The system is operational, but some activities will be practically implemented only after the project end, as they depend on some official approval of the system and final delivery of equipment and specimens to the Training and Examination Centre.
3.4.2. NDT certification Steering Committee
The Steering Committee is part of the whole certification system, and is described together with this system. A recommendation has been made to adapt the constitution of the Steering Committee for future implementation of the certification system in the nuclear sector.
3.4.3. NDT personnel certification general procedure
The certification procedure has been developed taking into account WE experience of certification and Ukrainian rules for certification. The procedure title is "Testing of metal of equipment and pipes at NPP’s with non-destructive methods. Rules for training, qualification and certification of personnel". This procedure allows conformity to EN 473. It has been approved by Energoatom.
The Certification Procedure has been presented to the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee and to the Ministry for Fuel and Energy of Ukraine, for final approval and decision about the Official status. The Certification Procedure will then be accepted by the Steering Committee of the Certification system.
3.4.4. NDT certification questionnaires and practical exams
The complete examination questionnaires for each level (I and II) and each of the 6 methods consist of a theoretical general questionnaire, of a theoretical specific questionnaire and of the practical exercises and questions. A number of questions and exercises, sufficient to start certification according to the General Procedure, have been produced for each part. They are kept in a confidential database.
The complete examination questionnaires were submitted to and approved by the Project Manager of the Beneficiary - NAEC "ENERGOATOM".
These questionnaires have been developed in accordance with the approved programs. When the full Certification system is effectively in place, these examination questionnaires will need to be submitted to the Steering Committee for final approval.
3.4.5. Organisation of the NDT personnel certification centre
The Examination Centre will be, like the Training Centre, operated by NDEF. Its organization has been defined and documented.
The main documents of the Quality system (Quality Manual and Organization Procedure) have been drafted and approved by Energoatom.
Due to the experience gained in the project through direct involvement, the NDEF staff has the necessary competences for management of the quality and of the improvement process, including adequate revision of documents.
The existing quality system is operational, and will lead to start-up of activities when the Examination Centre is fully equipped.
The structure and all quality documents allow conformity of the Examination Centre to Ukrainian requirements for NDT certification (in view of future official recognition).
4.1. Impact on the improvement of operational safety
The operational safety of a Nuclear Power Plant depends greatly on the structural integrity of the pressure boundary. Non Destructive Testing performed before and during the operation of NPP units plays an important role in maintaining this structural integrity through early and reliable detection of potential defects, before that they threaten the components integrity and functionality.
In order to use safely the results of these examinations of pipes and equipment, NDT must be reliable and performed to the required level. NDT quality depends, among other parameters, on human performance. Qualification of the NDT operators is therefore an important step that, through this chain, participates to safety.
Qualifying NDT personnel implies mainly to provide the needed theoretical knowledge of the techniques to be used and practical know-how of the operations to be executed for correct inspection. This is obtained through a good quality and well structured training, to be delivered by an organized training centre.
The project results allow today high quality training, completed by possibilities of examination and certification. Therefore, in a near future (after equipment and specimens delivery to the Training and Certification Centres), NDT operators will be trained and pass exams : this will effectively have a positive impact on the quality of In Service Inspection, and from there on safety. After official implementation of the proposed certification system, the competencies of the NDT operators will be officially recognized in a standard way : this will facilitate the management of quality and safety at the NPPs, increasing the impact from training and examination. In order to achieve this goal (improvement of safety), two conditions have been met regarding the project results: conformity of the developed tools to the needs for safety and sustainability of the Training and Examination Centers.
The established centres have the following advantages regarding future operation:
- The centres structure and most of their means (training documents, procedures, QA system,....) were mainly developed by the actors that will be directly involved in the management of these tools : this provides some assurance that the results correspond well to their needs, and that they are able to use correctly the developed tools.
- In designing the centres and their means, various experiences were gathered and confronted : experience of recent systems and practice in Western Europe, experience of training methodologies and certification frame in Ukraine, experience of NDT implementation in NPPs. Taking advantage from all these experiences, the established structures have a great potential for efficient full scope operation.
- During the project, all experts had the permanent concern of developing high quality and up-to-date tools, using modern technologies and methodologies; this facilitates the use of the outputs and increases their life duration.
- A lot of efforts have been devoted in the project to increasing competence and know-how of local experts; this was achieved through special trainings, guidance, consultancy and strong collaboration in the practical work. As a result, local experts are now qualified and motivated for future operation of the centres, including maintenance and renewing of the human and material resources and launching of possible innovations.
- The project is supported by local actors: of course Energoatom, but also other important players and experts in the concerned domains: NDT training, personnel certification and Nuclear Safety (University Taras Shevchenko of Kiev, Inter-Branch Training and Certification Centre of the Paton Welding Institute, Ukrexpert, State Nuclear Regulatory Committee).
To guarantee fast, general and coherent application for all NPPs, these activities must be integrated in an official Certification System ruling NDT personnel certification at NPPs. Effective and official implementation of the proposed certification system should therefore be pursued, through the following particular actions:
- Approval of the certification general procedure as normative document, by SNRC and Ministry for Fuel and Energy of Ukraine.
- Approval of the Certification System and structure by Ministry for Fuel and Energy of Ukraine and Department of State supervision for Labour Protection of Ministry of Labour
- Extension of the Steering Committee (adding 1 member from nuclear industry)
- Introduction of NPPs NDT experts in the working groups
- Modification of the Quality System of OSP (Personnel Certification Body) to include the nuclear sector in its structure
- Recognition by OSP of NDEF Training and Examination Centres as official Centres for the nuclear sector (this implies that NDEF fulfils all requirements of OSP to be accredited)
Future development of the centres are recommended for full capacity operation and suggested for other activities related to the qualification of NDT systems required by NPPs safety considerations, such as:
- Specify and supply complementary equipment and test specimens
- Develop some new training modules focused on specific NDT applications in NPPs Develop a catalogue of available training courses.
- Develop computer-aided training, with possibility of decentralized remote self-training.
- Develop some NDT system performance demonstration activities (implementing the European Methodology for Qualification developed by ENIQ), including installation of the necessary facilities and provision of representative mock-ups.
- Develop computer database to manage inspection results and provide feedback on NDT performance and qualification.
Qualification of personnel is only one step in the improvement of safety through In Service Inspection.More recommendations may be found in the documents about improvement of In Service inspection issued by the European NDE Forum (ENDEF): "Proposal for future activities in the field of Non Destructive Examination in CEEC's, Russia, Ukraine" EUR 18067, 1998 and "ENDEF guidelines for detailed project proposals to improve in-service inspection in WWER and RBMK reactors" EUR 18752, June 1999.
The Project Final report is available at the JRC-IE archive.