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Nuclear Power Generation

Orbital pipe and tube welding has been used in the nuclear power generation industry since the very first commercial plants were built. Fabricators and contractors demand the consistent code-quality welds and the ability to ensure that welds are made precisely within the parameters defined by the WPS/PQR. With every weld undergoing testing, the disruption to schedules for repairs and cut-outs is unacceptable. Automated orbital welding eliminates the variability of manual welding. Heat input, an important parameter for many nuclear pipe welding applications, can be precisely controlled and monitored; which is difficult to accomplish with manual welding.

Magnatech has provided both standard and modified equipment equipped with video arc monitoring for nuclear maintenance applications

The higher duty cycle of automated orbital pipe welding reduces construction time, and allows contractors to meet the tight deadlines for work required during plant shutdowns. Our tube welding systems are used by nuclear welding contractors for small diameter instrumentation line installation.

  • Long history of use for nuclear pipe welding in PWR, BWR, and CANDU design reactors
  • Video Arc Monitoring Systems for nuclear pipe welding in high radiation areas
  • Power sources engineered for data logging welding parameters.

Nuclear power remains a key element of electrical power supply, providing baseload capability and producing energy at a constant rate. Magnatech orbital welding systems are in routine use throughout the world by the specialized fabricators and contractors who service the nuclear power industry. We are known for our equipment reliability and ease of operation.



Two nuclear power plants, Atucha 1 and 2, were to be built near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Atucha 1 was completed and has long been producing electricity. Although construction began on Unit 2 in 1981, the Siemens design Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) was only 80% completed when construction was halted. In 2006, it was decided to complete construction. However, many of the skilled manual welders that had welded critical piping during initial construction were retired, and adequate skilled welders were unavailable.


Two of the main contractors, Techint and Electroingeneria Argentina, purchased a range of pipe welding systems to compensate for the lack of skilled welders, and achieved the requisite weld quality standards. They completed pipe welding and Unit 2 was put in service in 2012.

Power Piping

Equipment Used




The Canadian design CANDU nuclear power plants require the welding of special fittings on 760 feeder pipes (2 - 3" pipe, Sch 80) which carry the primary coolant to the steam generators: each feeder tube is precisely formed to fit in a precise 3 dimension location. These attach to each fuel channel with a Grayloc fitting. Babcock and Wilcox Canada Ltd. manufactured the original and now replacement feeder pipes. It was found that the inconsistent heat input of manual welding of the fittings to the precisely bent pipes, caused distortion, resulting in out of tolerance geometries.


Babcock uses several Pipemaster and D-Head systems. The precise control of weld parameters allows heat input to be minimized. Distortion is controlled within acceptable limits necessary for the pipes to fit in the design locations. As many of the feeder pipes require bends immediately adjacent to the weld, it is necessary to mount the D weld Head on the fitting, with the torch reaching down to the weld OD.