Welding Nuclear Storage Containers Using Automated TIG

AMI automated TIG welding system for nuclear storage containers

Nuclear energy represents one of the safest forms of energy production in use today. However, risks are ever-present. Nuclear power plants have supplied electricity for over a half-century now, and the industry has not escaped catastrophe: we are all familiar with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. While we know that safe nuclear energy production is the norm, it is essential to mitigate all risks.

Seal and weld failure for pressurized storage containers presents one of the greatest risks at nuclear power plants. Pressure vessel welding quality is critical for nuclear power and other applications—such as where heat exchangers and boiler tubes are used. Choose the most reliable process for your applications, automated TIG welding, and the best equipment—available from Arc Machines (AMI).

Requirements for Nuclear Welding

Due to the potential hazards of the release of materials used to process nuclear energy, safety is a top requirement. Stringent regulations and standards ensure protections for workers and ecosystems. These standards require the highest quality welds that are reliable for extended periods of time. To accomplish this, nuclear storage container welding must employ a stable process that will yield strong welds and resist corrosion.

Process Stability

Nuclear storage containers must be sealed to last for long periods of time as the stored waste material remains radioactive for thousands of years or more. To date, storage is the preferred method for waste disposal; however, research exploring waste recycling opportunities is underway. For now, storage containers must be welded with a stable and consistent process to yield the highest quality welds. Performing this process manually is difficult, even for experienced welders.

Weld Strength

Weld strength is determined by the material, the welding process, and the weld size or thickness. For nuclear storage containers, longevity is a major consideration. Therefore, containers are made of stainless steel and, in some cases, copper. Qualities of strength and longevity should determine welding material selection as well.

Corrosion Resistance

When welding joints in nuclear facilities, corrosion resistance is another determining factor. Corrosion will eventually lead to metal fatigue and the breakdown of the weld. Therefore, the weld must be highly resistant to corrosion.

Why Automated TIG for Welding Nuclear Storage Vessels?

The critical nature of welding nuclear storage vessels requires a process that can meet nuclear welding requirements. The welding process that produces the most consistent high-quality welds is GTAW or TIG welding. TIG welding is difficult to perform manually, and the best results are obtained by implementing an automated process such as orbital welding. TIG welding can be done with a filler material or autogenously and performed with orbital welding equipment. These combined attributes make automated TIG the best solution for welding nuclear storage containers.

Requirements Orbital GTAW Solutions
Process Stability Orbital welding equipment produces the best high-quality TIG welds. The use of automation and remote control also makes the process stable and safe. 
Weld Strength Weld strength is based to a large extent on the quality and consistency of the weld. Orbital TIG welding delivers this stability. 
Corrosion Resistance Corrosion resistance depends on the materials used. TIG welding can be performed on stainless steel, a common nuclear storage container metal, and can be accomplished with or without a filler.

AMI has decades of experience working on nuclear storage container projects. During that time, we have developed advanced orbital TIG welding equipment with attributes that include: remote weld head monitoring and control, highly reliable power sources, and patented vision systems that provide the welder or operator with the best arc view in the industry. Working with AMI also guarantees superior support and training to help you meet the high standards required for welding nuclear storage containers.


Arc Machines, Inc. leads the industry in advanced high-quality, precision GTAW welding equipment coupled with expert support. With AMI, you’re equipped to meet your nuclear storage container welding objectives. For inquiries regarding products, contact sales@arcmachines.com. For service inquiries, contact service@arcmachines.com. Arc Machines welcomes the opportunity to discuss your specific needs. Contact us to arrange a meeting.