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Calibration monitoring for sensor calibration interval extension: Identifying technical gaps

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6 Author(s)
Coble, J. ; Pacific Northwest Nat. Lab., Richland, WA, USA ; Ramuhalli, P. ; Meyer, R. ; Hashemian, H.
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Currently in the United States, periodic sensor recalibration is required for all safety-related sensors, typically occurring at every refueling outage; and it has emerged as a critical path item for shortening outage duration in some plants. International application of calibration monitoring has shown that sensors may operate for longer periods within calibration tolerances. This issue is expected to also be important as the United States looks to the next generation of reactor designs (such as small modular reactors and advanced reactor concepts), given the anticipated longer refueling cycles, proposed advanced sensors, and digital instrumentation and control systems. Online monitoring (OLM) can be employed to identify those sensors that require calibration, allowing for calibration of only those sensors that need it. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) accepted the general concept of OLM for sensor calibration monitoring in 2000, but no U.S. plants have been granted the necessary license amendment to apply it. This paper summarizes a recent state-of-the-art assessment of online calibration monitoring in the nuclear power industry, including sensors, calibration practice, and OLM algorithms. This assessment identifies key research needs and gaps that prohibit integration of the NRC-approved online calibration monitoring system in the U.S. nuclear power industry. Several technical needs were identified, including an understanding of the impacts of sensor degradation on measurements for both conventional and emerging sensors; the quantification of uncertainty in online calibration assessment; determination of calibration acceptance criteria and quantification of the effect of acceptance criteria variability on system performance; and assessment of the feasibility of using virtual sensor estimates to replace identified faulty sensors in order to extend operation to the next convenient maintenance opportunity.

Published in:

Future of Instrumentation International Workshop (FIIW), 2012

Date of Conference:

8-9 Oct. 2012