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Title: Using the sound of nuclear energy

The generation of sound by heat has been documented as an “acoustical curiosity” since a Buddhist monk reported the loud tone generated by a ceremonial rice-cooker in his diary, in 1568. Over the last four decades, significant progress has been made in understanding “thermoacoustic processes,” enabling the design of thermoacoustic engines and refrigerators. Motivated by the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, we have developed and tested a thermoacoustic engine that exploits the energy-rich conditions in the core of a nuclear reactor to provide core condition information to the operators without a need for external electrical power. The heat engine is self-powered and can wirelessly transmit the temperature and reactor power level by generation of a pure tone which can be detected outside the reactor. We report here the first use of a fission-powered thermoacoustic engine capable of serving as a performance and safety sensor in the core of a research reactor and present data from the hydrophones in the coolant (far from the core) and an accelerometer attached to a structure outside the reactor. These measurements confirmed that the frequency of the sound produced indicates the reactor’s coolant temperature and that the amplitude (above an onset threshold) is related to themore » reactor’s operating power level. Furthermore, these signals can be detected even in the presence of substantial background noise generated by the reactor’s fluid pumps.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [4]
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  2. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  3. Pennsylvania State Univ., State College, PA (United States)
  4. Westinghouse Electric Company, Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1294273
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU--15-37508
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5450
Grant/Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 195; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5450
Publisher:
American Nuclear Society (ANS)
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION thermoacoustics; in-core sensing; wireless telemetry