Application of Wireless Sensors for Predictive Maintenance of Rotating Equipment in DOE's Research Reactors
Research reactors such as the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have a long history of service to the nation and are expected to continue to operate successfully for many more years. However, these reactors are old and have not benefited much from recent advances in maintenance and diagnostics technologies that could be used to manage aging and ensure continued safety and reliability. For example, advanced technologies have been developed for predictive maintenance of motors, compressors, fans, and turbines, and for on-line condition monitoring of plant instrumentation. These methods have been used successfully for health and condition monitoring of industrial processes. Although some research reactors have adapted some of these developments, there has been little progress toward a systematic implementation of these technologies. Part of the problem is that wiring existing research reactors with test sensors for predictive maintenance would be problematic, expensive, and time consuming. This project will establish the feasibility of adapting wireless sensors for predictive maintenance of critical equipment in research reactors. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The wireless sensor technology should find use not only in research reactors and nuclear power plants but also in the chemical industry, manufacturing plants, and the military. For nuclear research reactors and nuclear power plants, the U.S. market alone has been estimated to be about $75 million dollars.
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