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Inspection of Hanford’s Double-Shell Waste Tanks Using Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducers

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation located in southeastern Washington State once provided the plutonium production and extraction facilities for the nation’s weapons program. The radioactive waste from these production cycles is stored in underground tanks. Made of carbon steel, these tanks undergo a rigorous inspection program using conventional ultrasonic testing (UT) techniques. Inspecting the tanks is time intensive. Electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) are now being investigated as a detection method for flaws on these tanks. EMAT inspection speeds are up to 50 times faster than the current conventional UT configuration. After a flaw is detected using EMATs, conventional UT can then be used to further characterize it.

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