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Expanding the capabilities of wireless condition monitoring sensors into the containment of pressurized water reactors

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4 Author(s)
Kiger, C.J. ; AMS Technol. Center, Anal. & Meas. Services Corp., Knoxville, TN, USA ; Shumaker, B.D. ; Johnson, W.S. ; Hashemian, H.M.

Aging plants and reduced workforces are causing commercial nuclear power reactors to limit the extent of their predictive maintenance programs to only critical to safety and critical to operation systems. Some sites are even forced into living with a reactive maintenance strategy for all but the most critical systems. This typically leads to significant expense through costly downtime and component unavailability. Advancements in wireless technology have resulted in the implementation of measurement devices on some important systems that have alleviated the condition monitoring and testing burden on maintenance personnel. Through research and development (R&D) sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a wireless condition monitoring application has been identified inside the containment of a pressurized water reactor (PWR) that can benefit from the introduction of wireless technology. The application that has been selected is the use of wireless vibration sensors to monitor the condition of containment cooling fans. The host utility for this project is the Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) power generating station. Due to the location of the fans within the containment building, maintenance personnel are prevented from manually collecting vibration data frequently enough (e.g., monthly) to determine the health of the equipment. Through the use of wireless sensors, data can be collected once a day to provide a more complete picture of the fans' health with advanced warning of a failing component. This paper will document the efforts of this project to deploy a wireless vibration system at ANO.

Published in:

Future of Instrumentation International Workshop (FIIW), 2012

Date of Conference:

8-9 Oct. 2012