AMS Completes R&D Project Supporting Cable Aging Management
AMS recently concluded a three year, multi-million-dollar Department of Energy sponsored R&D project titled, “Development of Cable Aging Acceptance Criteria for Nuclear Facilities.” The results of this project can be used in nuclear power plants to determine the condition of installed cables and objectively determine based on condition monitoring data when they will reach their end-of-life.
The project spanned from July 2019 through June 2022 and was officially concluded in September 2022. The Principal Investigator for this project was AMS Cable Services Group Manager, Mr. Casey Sexton. Mr. Trevor Toll, Lead Engineer of the AMS Materials Testing Laboratory, and Mr. Gary Harmon, Senior Electrical Engineer, served as the AMS internal Project Managers for this effort. AMS engineers also worked with researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to complete this project.
During this project, AMS developed acceptance criteria for mechanical, electrical, thermal, and chemical condition monitoring tests that trend with age-related degradation of electrical cable insulation polymers. The specific work performed under this project included:
- Subject nuclear plant cables with commonly used insulation polymers to radiation exposure and thermal aging to accelerate the aging process.
- Use condition monitoring techniques to trend changes in the insulation properties as they age.
- Expose the cables with various stages of aging to a loss of coolant accident (LOCA) simulation followed by electrical testing to determine the level of aging where the cable would no longer perform its intended function.
- Developing acceptance criteria that correlates insulation polymer properties with the end-of-life condition of cables.
The technology and methodologies developed over the course of this project will help inform plant personnel making decisions about cable maintenance and replacement and lead to a significant reduction in operation and maintenance costs.
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