Report of the terawatt laser pressure vessel committee Page: 3 of 95
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In 1995 the ATF project sent out an RFP for a CO2 Laser System having a TeraWatt output. Eight foreign and
US firms responded. The Proposal Evaluation Panel on the second round selected Optoel, a Russian firm
based in St. Petersburg, on the basis of the technical criteria and cost. Prior to the award, BNL representatives
including the principal scientist, cognizant engineer and a QA representative visited the Optoel facilities to
assess the company's capability to do the job.
The contract required Optoel to provide a x-ray preionized high pressure amplifier that included: a high pressure
cell, x-ray tube, internal optics and a HV pulse forming network for the main discharge and preionizer. The high-
pressure cell consists of a stainless steel pressure vessel with various ports and windows that is filled with a gas
mixture operating at 10 atmospheres. In accordance with BNL Standard ESH 1.4.1 "Pressurized Systems For
Experimental Use", the pressure vessel design criteria is required to comply with the ASME Boiler and Pressure
In 1996 a Preliminary Design Review was held at BNL. The vendor was requested to furnish drawings so that
we could confirm that the design met the above criteria.
The vendor furnished drawings did not have all dimensions necessary to completely analyze the cell. Never the
less, we performed an analysis on as much of the vessel as we could with the available information. The
calculations concluded that there were twelve areas of concern that had to be addressed to assure that the
pressure vessel complied with the requirements of the ASME code (see Appendix 7.1). This information was
forwarded to the vendor with the understanding that they would resolve these concerns as they continued with
the vessel design and fabrication. The assembled amplifier pressure vessel was later hydro tested to 220 psi
(15 Atm) as well as pneumatically to 181 psi (12.5 Atm) at the fabricator's Russian facility and was witnessed by
a BNL engineer.
The unit was shipped to the United States and installed at the ATF. As part of the commissioning of the device
the amplifier pressure vessel was disassembled several times at which time it became apparent that the vendor
had not addressed 7 of the 12 issues previously identified. Closer examination of the vessel revealed some
additional concerns including quality of workmanship. Although not required by the contract, the vendor
furnished radiographs of a number of pressure vessel welds. A review of the Russian X-rays revealed
radiographs of both poor and unreadable quality. However, a number of internal weld imperfections could be
observed. All welds in question were excavated and then visually and dye penetrant inspected. These
additional inspections confirmed that the weld techniques used to make some of these original welds were
The applicable BNL standard, ESH 1.4.1, addresses the problem of pressure vessel non-compliance by having
a committee appointed by the Department Chairman review the design and provide engineering solutions to
assure equivalent safety. On January 24, 2000 Dr. M. Hart, the NSLS Chairman, appointed this committee with
This report details the engineering investigations, deliberations, solutions and calculations which were
developed by members of this committee to determine that with repairs, new components, appropriate NDE,
and lowering the design pressure, the vessel can be considered safe to use.
2.0 AREAS OF CONCERN
At the committee's first meeting, on Jan. 26, 2000, the following seventeen concerns were established for which
engineering solutions needed to be developed. These items arose from the 12 items from the ASME calculation
as well as items, which were observed by NSLS engineers during installation and testing of the Laser system:
2.1 Longitudinal welds between cylindrical shell and flange (both halves)
2.2 Welds between endplates and flanges (both halves)
2.3 Welds between cylindrical shell and end plate (both halves)
2.4 Longitudinal cylindrical seam weld
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Woodle, M.H.; Beauman, R.; Czajkowski, C.; Dickinson, T.; Lynch, D.; Pogorelsky, I. et al. Report of the terawatt laser pressure vessel committee, report, September 25, 2000; Upton, New York. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc722668/m1/3/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.