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Title: Summary of Thermocouple Performance During Advanced Gas Reactor Fuel Irradiation Experiments in the Advanced Test Reactor and Out-of-Pile Thermocouple Testing in Support of Such Experiments

High temperature gas reactor experiments create unique challenges for thermocouple based temperature measurements. As a result of the interaction with neutrons, the thermoelements of the thermocouples undergo transmutation, which produces a time dependent change in composition and, as a consequence, a time dependent drift of the thermocouple signal. This drift is particularly severe for high temperature platinum-rhodium thermocouples (Types S, R, and B); and tungsten-rhenium thermocouples (Types C and W). For lower temperature applications, previous experiences with type K thermocouples in nuclear reactors have shown that they are affected by neutron irradiation only to a limited extent. Similarly type N thermocouples are expected to be only slightly affected by neutron fluxes. Currently the use of these Nickel based thermocouples is limited when the temperature exceeds 1000°C due to drift related to phenomena other than nuclear irradiation. High rates of open-circuit failure are also typical. Over the past ten years, three long-term Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) experiments have been conducted with measured temperatures ranging from 700oC – 1200oC. A variety of standard Type N and specialty thermocouple designs have been used in these experiments with mixed results. A brief summary of thermocouple performance in these experiments is provided. Most recently, outmore » of pile testing has been conducted on a variety of Type N thermocouple designs at the following (nominal) temperatures and durations: 1150oC and 1200oC for 2000 hours at each temperature, followed by 200 hours at 1250oC, and 200 hours at 1300oC. The standard Type N design utilizes high purity crushed MgO insulation and an Inconel 600 sheath. Several variations on the standard Type N design were tested, including Haynes 214 alloy sheath, spinel (MgAl2O4) insulation instead of MgO, a customized sheath developed at the University of Cambridge, and finally a loose assembly thermocouple with hard fired alumina insulation and molybdenum sheath. The most current version of the High Temperature Irradiation Resistant Thermocouple (HTIR-TC) based on molybdenum/niobium alloys, and developed at Idaho National Laboratory, was also tested.« less
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Conference: ANIMMA 2014,Lisbon, Portugal,04/20/2015,04/24/2015
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Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY High-temperature Irradiation; In-Pile Instrumentation; Thermocouple; Thermocouple Testing