Fundamental principles and possibilities of vibro-acoustic control of the primary coolant circuit in nuclear power plants for detecting failures (slack parts, penetration of foreign bodies, crack formation, etc.) are presented. As a result of pressure and flow rate fluctuations such failures give rise to characteristic changes in apmplitude and frequency of vibration and technological noise from the different aggregates with respect to a 'calibration' spectrum taken in the intact state. Nature and location of the failures may be determined by statistical analysis of the signals recorded from pressure and acceleration gauges. Certain parts of the primary circuit are controlled, especially the main circulation pumps. Additionally, neutron noise has been measured in order to control the core insertions. The method is illustrated by means of measurements performed in the units 1 to 4 of the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant during start-up operation and continuous operation.