skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Instrumentation Cables Test Plan

A fire at a nuclear power plant (NPP) has the potential to damage structures, systems, and components important to safety, if not promptly detected and suppressed. At Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant on March 22, 1975, a fire in the reactor building damaged electrical power and control systems. Damage to instrumentation cables impeded the function of both normal and standby reactor coolant systems, and degraded the operators’ plant monitoring capability. This event resulted in additional NRC involvement with utilities to ensure that NPPs are properly protected from fire as intended by the NRC principle design criteria (i.e., general design criteria 3, Fire Protection). Current guidance and methods for both deterministic and performance based approaches typically make conservative (bounding) assumptions regarding the fire-induced failure modes of instrumentation cables and those failure modes effects on component and system response. Numerous fire testing programs have been conducted in the past to evaluate the failure modes and effects of electrical cables exposed to severe thermal conditions. However, that testing has primarily focused on control circuits with only a limited number of tests performed on instrumentation circuits. In 2001, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducted a series ofmore » cable fire tests designed to address specific aspects of the cable failure and circuit fault issues of concern1. The NRC was invited to observe and participate in that program. The NRC sponsored Sandia National Laboratories to support this participation, whom among other things, added a 4-20 mA instrumentation circuit and instrumentation cabling to six of the tests. Although limited, one insight drawn from those instrumentation circuits tests was that the failure characteristics appeared to depend on the cable insulation material. The results showed that for thermoset insulated cables, the instrument reading tended to drift and fluctuate, while the thermoplastic insulated cables, the instrument reading fell off-scale rapidly. From an operational point of view, the latter failure characteristics would likely be identified as a failure from the effects of fire, while the former may result in inaccurate readings.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1330613
Report Number(s):
SAND2016--10803R
648617
DOE Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
24 POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION