The safe and efficient operation of autonomous microreactors for remote off-grid applications depends on the performance of critical sensors, processes, and components within the self-contained system. This project will develop on-line monitoring technologies that will improve the safety and economy of microreactors and support other advanced nuclear energy applications.
Research and Development
On-line Monitoring System to Support Autonomous Remote Microreactor Operations
Advanced Process Instrumentation System for Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors
The safe and efficient operation of any nuclear reactor depends on accurate and timely measurement of critical process parameters such as temperature, pressure, level, and flow. The sensors that make these measurements must be designed to satisfy the safety and control functions of the nuclear power plant and qualified to withstand the long-term effects of harsh in-service conditions as well as potential accident conditions. This project will focus on adapting the high-temperature irradiation-resistant thermocouple (HTIR-TC) sensor technology originally developed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to enable temperature, level, and flow measurements using innovative data acquisition and analysis techniques.
Development of Cable Insulation Materials for Small Modular Reactors
Many of the advanced reactors currently under development worldwide feature environmental conditions substantially harsher than current reactor designs. This project aims to address the need for more durable I&C cable insulation materials that are capable of withstanding these challenging environments and performing their intended function.
Methods to Evaluate Embedded Sensor Performance and Reliability in TCR Components
The safe and efficient operation of next-generation reactors will be enabled via additive manufacturing and embedded sensing. This project will develop methods to characterize the performance of embedded sensors used for structural health monitoring, autonomous operations, and other applications that will improve the safety and economy of future nuclear reactors.
Health Monitoring of Digital I&C Systems using Online Electromagnetic Measurements
Under this project, electrical and instrumentation & control equipment that experiences a high rate of failure will be artificially degraded in a simulated plant electromagnetic environment. The emission signatures from this equipment will be measured, recorded, and correlated to the health or condition of the equipment. The goal of this effort is to establish the basis for automated analysis of the emission signatures. This effort will result in development of a condition monitoring tool kit that will allow for the identification of degrading components prior to equipment failure.
Fault Detection of Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems using Integrated Electromagnetic Compatibility and Automated Functional Testing
This project proposes the design and development of a system that integrates electromagnetic compatibility and automated functional testing to enable comprehensive assessment and fault detection of digital instrumentation and control systems. The project involves detailed electromagnetic/radio frequency interference fault research, laboratory testing, and hardware/software design.
Development of Cable Aging Acceptance Criteria for Nuclear Facilities
The purpose of this project is to develop acceptance criteria for mechanical, electrical, thermal, and chemical condition monitoring (CM) tests that trend with age-related degradation of electrical cables. The work to be performed under the project includes subjecting cables to thermal accelerated aging, radiation exposure, and periodic testing using CM techniques to trend their properties as they age. After the cable samples have been subjected to thermal and radiation aging, they will then be exposed to loss of coolant accident (LOCA) conditions to determine their point of failure.