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Title: Thermoelectric-Driven Sustainable Sensing and Actuation Systems for Fault-Tolerant Nuclear Incidents

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident in March 2011 represented an unprecedented stress test on the safety and backup systems of a nuclear power plant. The lack of reliable information from key components due to station blackout was a serious setback, leaving sensing, actuation, and reporting systems unable to communicate, and safety was compromised. Although there were several independent backup power sources for required safety function on site, ultimately the batteries were drained and the systems stopped working. If, however, key system components were instrumented with self-powered sensing and actuation packages that could report indefinitely on the status of the system, then critical system information could be obtained while providing core actuation and control during off-normal status for as long as needed. This research project focused on the development of such a self-powered sensing and actuation system. The electrical power is derived from intrinsic heat in the reactor components, which is both reliable and plentiful. The key concept was based around using thermoelectric generators that can be integrated directly onto key nuclear components, including pipes, pump housings, heat exchangers, reactor vessels, and shielding structures, as well as secondary-side components. Thermoelectric generators are solid-state devices capable of converting heat directly into electricity.more » They are commercially available technology. They are compact, have no moving parts, are silent, and have excellent reliability. The key components to the sensor package include a thermoelectric generator (TEG), microcontroller, signal processing, and a wireless radio package, environmental hardening to survive radiation, flooding, vibration, mechanical shock (explosions), corrosion, and excessive temperature. The energy harvested from the intrinsic heat of reactor components can be then made available to power sensors, provide bi-directional communication, recharge batteries for other safety systems, etc. Such an approach is intrinsically fault tolerant: in the event that system temperatures increase, the amount of available energy will increase, which will make more power available for applications. The system can also be used during normal conditions to provide enhanced monitoring of key system components.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1242962
Report Number(s):
DOE/NEUP--12-3331
12-3331; TRN: US1600926
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Stony Brook University, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; 30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; HEAT; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; REACTOR ACCIDENTS; SENSORS; COMMUNICATIONS; CONTROL SYSTEMS; ELECTRIC POWER; MONITORING; OUTAGES; PROCESSING; RELIABILITY; SIGNALS; SENSORS