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Method and apparatus for testing nuclear reactor fuel assemblies

Image Number 2 for United States Patent #6570949.

A method for testing whether fuel rods of fuel assemblies resting on a working base and under water, of a nuclear reactor are leaking is disclosed. The method includes heating at least one first fuel assembly of a first division of fuel assemblies for driving radioactive fission products out of a defective fuel rod contained in the first fuel assembly. The first fuel assembly is continuously tested by extracting samples of water and continuously degassing the water removed from an area around the first fuel assembly even during the heating resulting in gas. A radioactivity of gaseous fission products released in the gas is continuously recorded. A fuel assembly belonging to a second division of fuel assemblies is heated only if the first fuel assembly belonging to the first division of fuel assemblies has been tested. An apparatus for implementing the method is also disclosed.

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