AWESIM results for nuclear welding

Nuclear AMRC helps AWESIM consortium develop a game-changer for fusion welding, enabling quicker delivery at reduced cost and waste.

Key points

Real-time weld monitoring

Slashing weld and inspection time from hours to minutes

Fusion welding game-changer

Delivering quicker and at reduced cost, with more certainty and much less waste


Fusion welding is a crucial element of fabrication for nuclear new build projects, allowing for the creation of high-integrity large-scale parts. Welding defects can lead to critical failures, so the detection and prevention of any error is vital to ensure safe performance over decades of service. Current processes typically involve inspection after a weld pass has been completed. This means that a thick multi-pass weld can take hours or days to complete. Any error will lead to expensive and time-consuming reworking, or even the scrapping or recycling of expensive materials. There is now an AWESIM alternative.

Led by Cavendish Nuclear, the AWESIM (Automated Welding Equipment System Inspection and Monitoring) consortium drew on the Nuclear AMRC’s expertise in real-time weld monitoring to slash weld and inspection time from hours to minutes. The AWESIM technology gathers high-resolution data from integrated sensors and uses computer algorithms to rapidly analyse fusion welding data. This process gives operators an immediate indication of the presence of any welding defects.

This technology is a game-changer for fusion welding, as it enables real-time detection of defects as they occur. This means that nuclear contractors can deliver key parts of their projects quicker and at reduced cost, with more certainty and much less waste.

The AWESIM project was part-funded by £1.35m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme. Industrial partners including Doosan Babcock, Babcock International Group and Frazer-Nash Consultancy provided a further £726,000 of support. The project was highly commended in The Engineer magazine’s Collaborate to Innovate awards for 2021.

Bert Holt, Director of Nuclear Lifetime Programmes, Doosan Babcock said:

The AWESIM project has demonstrated the power of collaboration in innovation between the academic and industrial partners in projects enabled by the judicious application of government funding to make a real tangible impact in bringing new, potentially disruptive technology to the market.

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