Changes in NBIC Regarding Inspection and Testing of Pressure Vessel Repairs

By Vince Carucci

In updating my copy of the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) with 1997 addendum (approved April 27,1998), I noticed some changes from the 1996 revision of the NBIC (approved January 6,1997) that could affect how some folks handle inspection and testing of repairs and alterations.

Para. RC-2031 Routine Repairs

The following highlights several changes made in this paragraph:

RC-2050 Examination and Test

This paragraph was retitled from “Pressure Testing” in the previous NBIC and covers repairs. The requirements now provide more latitude for using NDE in lieu of pressure testing of repairs and replacement parts. This latitude applies to all repairs, not only routine repairs.

RC-2051 Methods

This is a new paragraph covering repairs, and includes several items from Para. RC-2050 of the prior NBIC (with modifications in some cases), plus several new requirements. It summarizes different examination and test methods and states that which one or combination of them would be used is based on the nature and scope of the repair. This provides considerably more discretionary latitude than before, but also greater responsibility.

RC-3030 Examination and Test

This paragraph was retitled from “Pressure Testing” in the previous NBIC and covers alterations. The requirements for alterations specified here are identical to those specified for repairs in Para. RC-2050. Thus, greater latitude is apparently permitted regarding using examination or test to verify integrity. But, this latitude is defined and restricted in the new Para. RC-3031.

RC-3031 Methods

This is a new paragraph covering alterations, includes several items from Para. RC-3030 of the prior NBIC (with modifications), and is similar in structure to Para. RC-2051.

Summary

The 1997 Addendum to the NBIC provides additional latitude in the resting and examination requirements for repairs and alterations to pressure vessels. Such latitude is welcome to experienced engineers and inspectors. However, its application requires increased attention to ensure that pressure vessel integrity is not compromised in the interest of saving time and money.