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Thermoelectric Powered Wireless Sensors for Dry-Cask Storage

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7 Author(s)
Thomas A. Carstens ; Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA ; Michael L. Corradini ; James P. Blanchard ; Chien-Hao Liu
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This paper describes using thermoelectric generators to power wireless sensors to monitor spent nuclear fuel during dry-cask storage. OrigenArp was used to determine the decay heat of the spent fuel at different times during the service life of the dry-cask. The Engineering Equation Solver computer program modeled the temperatures inside the dry-cask during its service life. The temperature distribution of a thermoelectric generator and heat sink was calculated using the computer program Finite Element Heat Transfer. From these temperature distributions the power produced by the thermoelectric generator was determined as a function of the service life of the dry-cask. To investigate the ability to provide wireless signal transmission using this power source, CST Microwave Studio was used to determine the scattering parameter S2,1 for a horizontal dry-cask. Important parameters that can influence the transmission of the signal are antenna orientation, antenna placement, and transmission frequency. This analysis estimates that a thermoelectric generator can produce enough power for a sensor to function and transmit data from inside the dry-cask throughout its service life.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 2 )