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Online Monitoring in Small Modular Reactors

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-12ER86525
Agency Tracking Number: 87706
Amount: $999,873.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 21a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000880
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2013-08-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
9119 Cross Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923-
United States
DUNS: 021567144
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Hashem Hashemian
 (865) 691-1756
Business Contact
 Darrell Mitchell
Title: Mr.
Phone: (865) 691-1756
Research Institution
 University of Tennessee
1331 Circle Park Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37196-
United States

 () -
 Nonprofit College or University

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are one of the most compelling options for meeting the growing clean energy demands of the U.S. While safer and costing less to build and operate than their conventional counterparts, the unique requirements of SMRs pose significant challenges to the maintenance of their I & amp;C systems, especially due to the likelihood of fewer process sensors. Lacking the sensor redundancy found in conventional nuclear plant I & amp;C systems, SMR operators need to amass a greater understanding of the health of both the sensors and the measured processes than operators of conventional reactors. In conventional nuclear reactors, advanced data analysis through On-Line Monitoring (OLM) has successfully correlated the normal output of existing sensors to the health of the sensors, equipment, and plant processes. The same success can be achieved for SMRs through the research and development effort proposed here. This is a proposal for the adoption of Online Monitoring (OLM) technology for condition based assessment of instrumentation and control (I & amp;C) systems, in-vessel equipment, and other small and large components of SMRs. This technology can help provide a means for incipient failure detection and prediction of remaining useful life of equipment. The project will provide: 1) guidance to SMR vendors as to the provisions in the design of SMRs necessary to facilitate OLM implementation, and 2) an OLM system design including hardware, software, and data analysis algorithms for calibration monitoring, predictive maintenance, and detection of anomalies in SMR equipment and processes. In Phase I, the feasibility of an OLM system for SMRs was established by using existing OLM techniques on iPWR simulator data. This formed the basis for identifying SMR-specific improvements needed for OLM in Phase II. This R & amp;D project will employ a comprehensive, hands-on approach to advance the state of OLM technology to address the maintenance needs of SMRs. The project will have 5 primary goals: 1) establish provisions in SMR designs for OLM integration, 2) develop empirical and physical models of SMRs to customize and validate OLM algorithms and software, 3) build OLM data acquisition system for SMRs, 4) evaluate the use of diagnostics and prognostics for real-time asset management in SMRs, 5) build a prototype OLM system for SMRs and implement on an SMR simulator. The end result of this project is to design a commercial OLM system for SMRs. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The product of this work will be sold to SMR vendors both domestically and internationally for implementation as plants come online in the future. The OLM system can be incorporated into SMR designs or provided later as an add-on. The results of this research will serve as a catalyst for the successful deployment of SMRs, which provide an affordable, clean, proliferation-resistant, and flexible energy source. Additional beneficiaries of this updated technology include NASA (who is currently developing extra-terrestrial reactors) and the United States military (who has expressed interest in portable, long-term energy sources.)

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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