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Title: Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors

Abstract

This Final Report refers to the project “Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor Systems”, which was led by Westinghouse Electric Company (Westinghouse) and carried out in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and University of Pittsburgh. Thermo-acoustic Power Sensors (TAPS) are self-powered, wireless sensors envisioned for measuring key parameters, such as local temperature and neutron flux, in a nuclear reactor core. This project was intended to specifically investigate their applicability to Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR). TAPS are non-invasive (wireless) and passive (self-powered) devices. The passivity derives from their ability to use conditions that “naturally” exist in a nuclear reactor, such as gamma and neutron flux, as power sources. They generate oscillating pressure waves (i.e., sound waves) which, with a frequency and amplitude dependent upon these conditions, can travel through the core and associated structures, and reach the outside of the reactor vessel where a properly designed network of receivers can detect and interpret them. These receivers require a very small amount of power which, during loss of power events, can be provided for example by harvesting gamma radiation energy, thus resulting in a monitoring system that can function both during normal operation and during loss of power events.more » The project aimed at TAPS development through a series of tasks which are listed and briefly discussed as follows. TASK 1 – Sensor hardware design Subtask 1a: Assessment of sensor applications to SFRs Subtask 1b: Development of sensor functional requirements Subtask 1c: Definition of sensor hardware design specifications Task description: TAPS design was informed by considerations on their application (Subtask 1a), both the ultimate one in an SFR and the actual one in the ANL testing facilities that was intended to be used in support of the project. Considerations were made to identify optimum sensor design features that optimize the sensor size, materials, and output signal, for installation inside an SFR core. These considerations led to the development of Functional Requirements (Subtask 1b) and Design Requirements (Subtask 1c). TASK 2 – Sensor Hardware Manufacture Subtask 2a: Sensor hardware construction drawing development Subtask 2b: Sensor manufacture and assembly Task description: TAPS technical drawings were developed (Subtask 2a) using the Design Requirements established under Task 1. Subsequently, in spite of some problems which ultimately caused the program to be delayed, TAPS manufacturing was completed based on drawings (Subtask 2b). TASK 3 – Development of TAPS Signal Measurement System and TAPS Testing in Water Subtask 3a: Design, assembly and testing of signal measurement system, and TAPS testing in water Subtask 3b: Signal prediction-correction methodology development Task description: An assessment was performed on the techniques that can potentially be used to detect the signals emitted by the TAPS, e.g. a fiber-optic based acoustic signal measurement system, a laser vibrometer system, or an accelerometer-based system. The most suited technology, i.e. the accelerometer-based system, was developed further, and tested in water (Subtask 3a). Moreover, efforts were made to develop the methodology required to determine the actual system temperature and neutron flux distribution using differences between the measured and predicted TAPS responses (Subtask 3b). TASK 4 – Sensor System Testing in Sodium Subtask 4a: Test plan development Subtask 4b: Design, assembly and testing in small-scale sodium facility Subtask 4c: Design, assembly and testing in large-scale sodium and structures facility Task description: Upon proper test plan development (Subtask 4a), the fabricated TAPS was planned to be tested in sodium, by using two sodium facilities at ANL having different size and different purpose. The Under Sodium Viewing (USV) small-scale facility was intended to be used to investigate the effect of sodium on the sensor and its performance (Subtask 4b). The Mechanism Engineering Test Loop (METL) large-scale facility was instead intended to be used to assess the additional effect of prototypical SFR structures, such as fuel assembly mockup or parts of the core restrain structure, on sensor performance (Subtask 4c). As discussed in Section 3.2.2.7, unexpected issues during the TAPS manufacturing process resulted in some activities being delayed, with the TAPS and USV facility developed to the point to be ready for testing in sodium, however without the possibility to actually perform such testing (including the testing in METL) due to the end of the program’s performance period. Overall, through the development and testing (in water only) of two TAPS devices (a First-Generation TAPS followed by an optimized Second-Generation TAPS), the project confirmed the capability of this technology to generate acoustic signals proportional to temperature, which can be detected through a network of accelerometers identified as the best-suited type of receivers for acoustic signal detection. Moreover, the project also developed a computational model to predict the characteristics of the acoustic signals being generated, which combines thermal analysis of the TAPS with Finite Element Modeling (FEM)-aided acoustic characterization of the system. This model was benchmarked against experimental data collected during the project and, although general agreement was obtained, some limitations of the modeling methods were identified, which require additional development. Additional testing is needed in order to assess the effect, on TAPS operation and performance, of environmental changes resulting from the transition from water to liquid sodium. Such testing, which is suggested to be performed in the future, should look specifically at 1) both the effect resulting from the different thermoacoustic behavior of sodium (relative to water) and the effects of higher temperature on TAPS performance, and 2) the performance of the sensor-receiver system when multiple TAPS are used simultaneously and prototypical reactor structures are positioned in the testing environment. The latter testing is needed to assess the effects that potential signal attenuation/ distortion phenomena, as well as potential interference between signals emitted simultaneously, have on the performance of the technology for ultimate application in a nuclear reactor.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [3]
  1. Westinghouse Electric Co., LLC, Cranberry Township, PA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
  3. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Westinghouse Electric Co., LLC, Cranberry Township, PA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1437451
Report Number(s):
DOE-WESTINGHOUSE-0008322-1
DOE Contract Number:  
NE0008322
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: C. Dumm, et al., Predictive Modeling of Acoustic Signals from Thermoacoustic Power Sensors (TAPS). Proceedings of the 2016 24th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. ICONE24. June 26-30, 2016, Charlotte, North Carolina
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; thermoacoustic; TAPS; thermoacoustic power sensor; sfr; sodium fast reactor

Citation Formats

Heibel, Michael D., Carvajal, Jorge V., Ferroni, Paolo, Czerniak, Luke, Heagy, Melissa M., Vipperman, Jeffrey S., Dumm, Christopher M., Sienicki, James J., and Chien, Hual -Te. Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors. United States: N. p., 2018. Web.
Heibel, Michael D., Carvajal, Jorge V., Ferroni, Paolo, Czerniak, Luke, Heagy, Melissa M., Vipperman, Jeffrey S., Dumm, Christopher M., Sienicki, James J., & Chien, Hual -Te. Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors. United States.
Heibel, Michael D., Carvajal, Jorge V., Ferroni, Paolo, Czerniak, Luke, Heagy, Melissa M., Vipperman, Jeffrey S., Dumm, Christopher M., Sienicki, James J., and Chien, Hual -Te. Tue . "Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_1437451,
title = {Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors},
author = {Heibel, Michael D. and Carvajal, Jorge V. and Ferroni, Paolo and Czerniak, Luke and Heagy, Melissa M. and Vipperman, Jeffrey S. and Dumm, Christopher M. and Sienicki, James J. and Chien, Hual -Te},
abstractNote = {This Final Report refers to the project “Development of Thermoacoustic Sensors for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor Systems”, which was led by Westinghouse Electric Company (Westinghouse) and carried out in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and University of Pittsburgh. Thermo-acoustic Power Sensors (TAPS) are self-powered, wireless sensors envisioned for measuring key parameters, such as local temperature and neutron flux, in a nuclear reactor core. This project was intended to specifically investigate their applicability to Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR). TAPS are non-invasive (wireless) and passive (self-powered) devices. The passivity derives from their ability to use conditions that “naturally” exist in a nuclear reactor, such as gamma and neutron flux, as power sources. They generate oscillating pressure waves (i.e., sound waves) which, with a frequency and amplitude dependent upon these conditions, can travel through the core and associated structures, and reach the outside of the reactor vessel where a properly designed network of receivers can detect and interpret them. These receivers require a very small amount of power which, during loss of power events, can be provided for example by harvesting gamma radiation energy, thus resulting in a monitoring system that can function both during normal operation and during loss of power events. The project aimed at TAPS development through a series of tasks which are listed and briefly discussed as follows. TASK 1 – Sensor hardware design Subtask 1a: Assessment of sensor applications to SFRs Subtask 1b: Development of sensor functional requirements Subtask 1c: Definition of sensor hardware design specifications Task description: TAPS design was informed by considerations on their application (Subtask 1a), both the ultimate one in an SFR and the actual one in the ANL testing facilities that was intended to be used in support of the project. Considerations were made to identify optimum sensor design features that optimize the sensor size, materials, and output signal, for installation inside an SFR core. These considerations led to the development of Functional Requirements (Subtask 1b) and Design Requirements (Subtask 1c). TASK 2 – Sensor Hardware Manufacture Subtask 2a: Sensor hardware construction drawing development Subtask 2b: Sensor manufacture and assembly Task description: TAPS technical drawings were developed (Subtask 2a) using the Design Requirements established under Task 1. Subsequently, in spite of some problems which ultimately caused the program to be delayed, TAPS manufacturing was completed based on drawings (Subtask 2b). TASK 3 – Development of TAPS Signal Measurement System and TAPS Testing in Water Subtask 3a: Design, assembly and testing of signal measurement system, and TAPS testing in water Subtask 3b: Signal prediction-correction methodology development Task description: An assessment was performed on the techniques that can potentially be used to detect the signals emitted by the TAPS, e.g. a fiber-optic based acoustic signal measurement system, a laser vibrometer system, or an accelerometer-based system. The most suited technology, i.e. the accelerometer-based system, was developed further, and tested in water (Subtask 3a). Moreover, efforts were made to develop the methodology required to determine the actual system temperature and neutron flux distribution using differences between the measured and predicted TAPS responses (Subtask 3b). TASK 4 – Sensor System Testing in Sodium Subtask 4a: Test plan development Subtask 4b: Design, assembly and testing in small-scale sodium facility Subtask 4c: Design, assembly and testing in large-scale sodium and structures facility Task description: Upon proper test plan development (Subtask 4a), the fabricated TAPS was planned to be tested in sodium, by using two sodium facilities at ANL having different size and different purpose. The Under Sodium Viewing (USV) small-scale facility was intended to be used to investigate the effect of sodium on the sensor and its performance (Subtask 4b). The Mechanism Engineering Test Loop (METL) large-scale facility was instead intended to be used to assess the additional effect of prototypical SFR structures, such as fuel assembly mockup or parts of the core restrain structure, on sensor performance (Subtask 4c). As discussed in Section 3.2.2.7, unexpected issues during the TAPS manufacturing process resulted in some activities being delayed, with the TAPS and USV facility developed to the point to be ready for testing in sodium, however without the possibility to actually perform such testing (including the testing in METL) due to the end of the program’s performance period. Overall, through the development and testing (in water only) of two TAPS devices (a First-Generation TAPS followed by an optimized Second-Generation TAPS), the project confirmed the capability of this technology to generate acoustic signals proportional to temperature, which can be detected through a network of accelerometers identified as the best-suited type of receivers for acoustic signal detection. Moreover, the project also developed a computational model to predict the characteristics of the acoustic signals being generated, which combines thermal analysis of the TAPS with Finite Element Modeling (FEM)-aided acoustic characterization of the system. This model was benchmarked against experimental data collected during the project and, although general agreement was obtained, some limitations of the modeling methods were identified, which require additional development. Additional testing is needed in order to assess the effect, on TAPS operation and performance, of environmental changes resulting from the transition from water to liquid sodium. Such testing, which is suggested to be performed in the future, should look specifically at 1) both the effect resulting from the different thermoacoustic behavior of sodium (relative to water) and the effects of higher temperature on TAPS performance, and 2) the performance of the sensor-receiver system when multiple TAPS are used simultaneously and prototypical reactor structures are positioned in the testing environment. The latter testing is needed to assess the effects that potential signal attenuation/ distortion phenomena, as well as potential interference between signals emitted simultaneously, have on the performance of the technology for ultimate application in a nuclear reactor.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2018},
month = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2018}
}

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