Interview - Etienne Martin

15th July 2016


Mr. Etienne Martin has an engineering degree from ENSAM and have spent most of his career at EDF in the field of Non Destructive Testing. He is also President of the European Network for Inspection and Qualification (ENIQ) and at the BoD (Board of Directors) of the qualification and personnel certification organizations (COFREND and EFNDT).


Etienne Martin

According to your experience, how do you situate the French expertise in NDT?

Compared with some other countries, we have mature requirements regarding process performances and the proficiency of the operators that we are cited as prime example in the field of NDT.

But it is true that we are facing challenges in which the engineering of Development - Qualification must not forget the implementation teams and provide them with "usable" procedures.

In the years to come, with the evolution of techniques, we may have to call ourselves into question about the organizations and the skillfulness of the staff in charge of the implementation of these techniques during the acquisition and analysis phases.

These two subjects (maintaining proficiency and "usability" of procedures) are on the agenda of the ENIQ network (European Network for Inspection and Qualification).


Could you describe your expectations, as a large industrial group like EDF, in terms of development of NDT techniques?

I would risk to reply to work "faster, smarter, cheaper". It is the wish of every End Users.

It is critical to manage material aging for the continued successful long-term operation of the nuclear power fleet. Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) plays a key role in managing material aging, identifying degraded components in a timely manner, and conducting trend analysis as a condition monitoring tool for run/repair/replacement decisions. As nuclear plants enter long-term operations beyond 40 years with extended licenses, NDE becomes increasingly important.

NDT must evolve and adapt to technological developments. Thus, NDT methods and techniques must conciliate performances, precision and inspection issues that can be more and more complex, but also take into account some constraints on control methods such as the restrictions on the use of certain techniques: high energy gammagraphy or the European Directive 2013/35/EU "Minimum health and safety requirements related to the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields".


I understand that you also supervise a regulation project aiming at reducing the use of Radiography Technique (RT). What are the considered outlooks?

During the days of the French Certified Body (COFREND) held in May 2005 in Beaune, ASN highlighted the need to justify, within the intent of Article L. 1333-1 of the code of public health, gammagraphy, and to define best practices for the preparation and the good sequences of projects.

The COFREND published in 2010 a publication on the declination of the justification principle in gammagraphy to help the protagonists (Plant Owners and Suppliers) to ask themselves the right questions before performing an inspection, followed in 2011 in partnership with AFIAP, SNCT, CETIM and IS, by an deployment of this practice in particular for the field of pressure equipment.

While ASN wished to emphasize the importance of the work done, a reserved initial assessment about the use of these tools have been taken. Indeed, the application of the justification principle is not considered satisfactory by ASN based on the reports drawn up during inspections that it leads.

Thus, the COFREND and AFIAP deemed necessary to bring together all stakeholders, to focus and coordinate all the initiatives and works already done or in progress, by other technically oriented GT, in order to send one (or more) paper(s) that would be an authority in this matter; that is to say, firstly, reduce the part of radiography in our industrial landscape with the setting up of a steering group designated 2C2A (Coordination Comity for Alternatives Approaches).

To date, we mainly worked on the upstream, on the codes and standards which do not always facilitate the deployment of alternatives to high energy Radiography (work to be presented at Esope 2016) but also, in the continuity of the early work from the Cofrend work group in gammagraphy, on guides of good practices in the use of selenium, digital media, and also tomorrow on a methodological guide for all industrial sectors affected by the difficulty to deploy alternatives to RT. This document could be based on the document CEN / TR 14748:2004 "Non-Destructive Testing - Methodology for qualification of Non-Destructive Tests" and on the ongoing work within AFCEN on the writing of a guide to establish an Equivalent Dossier for the techniques in lieu of Radiography.


I think that you know CIVA simulation software. Beyond the assistance that simulation can bring to qualification processes, in your opinion, does the major contribution of simulation lie in a better mastery of the process, a better understanding of the physical phenomena involved (or other things...)?

To date, we have two possible uses of modeling tools.

  • Upstream of  an inspection, for a better mastery and understanding of the physical phenomena that we could use when developing a process, and thus reduce the use and/or the number of mock-ups, and therefore minimize development costs.
  • Downstream of an inspection, to understand some phenomena encountered during the deployment of a process that were not anticipated during the qualification and/or capability assessment of an NDT System.

But for these two cases, we have two precautions to take:

  • The validation of the modeling tool for the case under consideration, hence the importance of knowing the limits of the product, which could possibly be conceived by an access to a database managed by EXTENDE or CEA on test cases that could also be fueled by customers after validation by an organization such as a CIVA Users Group.
  • The training and/or maintening proficiency of users, which is, as for the END inspector, an important point in the confidence that we can have about the final result.


Now provided with a module dedicated to data analysis, do you think that this new tool of CIVA UT can bring something to the nuclear field, and to EDF in particular? Maybe the opening to multiple formats, or experts tools?

Regarding the first question, I think that giving the opportunity to analysts and/or experts, through the use of modeling in inspection on the same analytical tool, can only strengthen the confidence of everyone about the final diagnosis.

Regarding the second question, as an end-user, we cope with constraints on the archiving conditions of records.

This means that we must avoid that a disruption in the technology of measurement instruments (sensors, data acquisition NDT systems,) with as a main consequence the ability to store and retrieve NDE inspection data opens up the possibility of performing re-analysis of prior data and comparing it with the new inspection results in terms of :

  • Hardware capable of accessing the files on the storage media must exist,
  • Software capable of displaying the data must be available,
  • Operating systems(Windows DOS, Unix, Linux, ...) in which the software can operate must be available.

The massive use of digital technologies has a profound and lasting impact on the practices of the various actors involved in the operations of non-destructive testing: acquisition of tremendous amount of data, increasingly complex treatment...

NDT activities are facing the following distinctive features right now:

  • The management and the exploitation of a tremendous amount of digital data (tens of Megabytes) requiring frequent exchanges of data between the various actors in the inspection operations (Acquisition, Analysis and Invigilation Teams),
  • The need to possibly re-use all or parts of the inspection data, several years after their on-site acquisition, to satisfy considerations of experience feedback.

The need to exchange and to be insured of the reusability of a large volume of digital data tends to prescribe the use of a data format recognized by the NDT actors and suitable for the data exchange of multi-techniques NDT.

Without wishing to relaunch European programs from the 90’s like PACE (Analysis Program for Control and Expertise) and the TRAPPIST format for data storage, the idea of ??having a tool that can open every formats can only facilitate training, the use of analysis tools and the maintenance of the skills of analysts.