Qualification is a process where an inspection system and its usability for a specific test situation is evaluated in a structured manner, approved and finally certified.
Since 1994 there is a demand from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) that Non-Destructive Testing of reactor parts and connecting pipes in Swedish nuclear power plants have to be qualified. The demands are regulated in SSM: s regulation for mechanical devices in certain nuclear facilities, SSMFS 2008:13.
Qualification shall in accordance with the regulations take place at a qualification board with an independent and impartial position approved by SSM. SQC is since January 1996 Sweden’s first and leading qualification board.
A Non-Destructive Testing system consists of an inspection procedure, equipment and personnel. They can either be qualified separately or as a whole. The procedure describes the handling of the equipment and shall be operated by qualified personnel. A qualification means that it has been demonstrated that the testing system can detect, characterize and size the defects expected in the affected reactor parts and connecting pipes.
SQC: s primary activities are to supervise, assess and document Non-Destructive Testing systems that are used for inspections in Swedish nuclear power plants. When a qualification is completed a time limited certificate is issued.
The SQC prepared qualification process are asked for by the nuclear industry in many places. Demands for qualified testing in the nuclear industry are becoming mandatory in many countries worldwide.