Automated detection of corrosion in used nuclear fuel dry storage canisters using residual neural networks


Nondestructive evaluation methods play an important role in ensuring component integrity and safety in many industries. Operator fatigue can play a critical role in the reliability of such methods. This is important for inspecting high value assets or assets with a high consequence of failure, such as aerospace and nuclear components. Recent advances in convolution neural networks can support and automate these inspection efforts. This paper proposes using residual neural networks (ResNets) for real-time detection of corrosion, including iron oxide discoloration, pitting and stress corrosion cracking, in dry storage stainless steel canisters housing used nuclear fuel. The proposed approach crops nuclear canister images into smaller tiles, trains a ResNet on these tiles, and classifies images as corroded or intact using the per-image count of tiles predicted as corroded by the ResNet. The results demonstrate that such a deep learning approach allows to detect the locus of corrosion via smaller tiles, and at the same time to infer with high accuracy whether an image comes from a corroded canister. Thereby, the proposed approach holds promise to automate and speed up nuclear fuel canister inspections, to minimize inspection costs, and to partially replace human-conducted onsite inspections, thus reducing radiation doses to personnel.

In Nuclear Engineering and Technology
Theodore Papamarkou
Theodore Papamarkou
Professor in maths of data science

Knowing is not enough, one must compute.