Nondestructive testing (NDT) course renovation for the power engineering technology program
Nuclear power has now been recognized as one of the best alternative energy sources due to its zero carbon footage and relative low cost per kilo-watt hour compared to other alternatives. In Texas alone, 6 new nuclear power plants are expected to be built in the near future, which will require approximately two thousand qualified personnel to operate and maintain. In response to this urgent need, the Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution (ETID) at Texas A&M University has started a 4-year Power Engineering Technology (PET) degree program in the Fall Semester of 2008 which is dedicated for the nuclear power industry. One of the junior courses in the curriculum is Inspection Methods consisting mainly of the nondestructive testing methods which include liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, ultrasonic, eddy current, radiography, and others. NDT has long been widely utilized for various flaw detections (crack, void, corrosion, and delamination, etc.) during manufacturing as well as maintenance by many industries to ensure the quality or safety of a component or system. It is an indispensible group of technologies mandated by the regulatory agency for the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants. A separate program within the ETID department, the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) program, has already offered an Inspection Methods course to introduce NDT in general but not specifically tailored for the nuclear power industry. To have better use of resources, a course renovation is under way which aims to address the needs for both the MMET and PET programs. This course renovation is based on the information collected through the interactions with the NDT service providers and nuclear power plant operators. In this paper, the course development experiences in the two key areas, i.e., the state-of-the-art NDT technologies - phased array ultrasound (PA) and computed radiography (CR), will be presented. Discussions will also be given regarding the roles of PA and CR in the current and future NDT inspection of nuclear power plants. American Society for Engineering Education, 2009.