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Title: Determining Remaining Useful Life of Aging Cables in Nuclear Power Plants – Interim Study FY13

The most important criterion for cable performance is its ability to withstand a design-basis accident. With nearly 1000 km of power, control, instrumentation, and other cables typically found in an NPP, it would be a significant undertaking to inspect all of the cables. Degradation of the cable jacket, electrical insulation, and other cable components is a key issue that is likely to affect the ability of the currently installed cables to operate safely and reliably for another 20 to 40 years beyond the initial operating life. The development of one or more nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques and supporting models that could assist in determining the remaining life expectancy of cables or their current degradation state would be of significant interest. The ability to nondestructively determine material and electrical properties of cable jackets and insulation without disturbing the cables or connections has been deemed essential. Currently, the only technique accepted by industry to measure cable elasticity (the gold standard for determining cable insulation degradation) is the indentation measurement. All other NDE techniques are used to find flaws in the cable and do not provide information to determine the current health or life expectancy. There is no single NDE technique that canmore » satisfy all of the requirements needed for making a life-expectancy determination, but a wide range of methods have been evaluated for use in NPPs as part of a continuous evaluation program. The commonly used methods are indentation and visual inspection, but these are only suitable for easily accessible cables. Several NDE methodologies using electrical techniques are in use today for flaw detection but there are none that can predict the life of a cable. There are, however, several physical and chemical ptoperty changes in cable insulation as a result of thermal and radiation damage. In principle, these properties may be targets for advanced NDE methods to provide early warning of aging and degradation. Examples of such key indicators include changes in chemical structure, mechanical modulus, and dielectric permittivity. While some of these indicators are the basis of currently used technologies, there is a need to increase the volume of cable that may be inspected with a single measurement, and if possible, to develop techniques for in-situ inspection (i.e., while the cable is in operation). This is the focus of the present report.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
830403000; TRN: US1400332
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; cable aging; NDE; remaining useful life; polymer degradation; dielectric measurements; acoustic velocity