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High Temperature Operable, Harsh Environment Tolerant Flow Sensors for Nuclear Reactor Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0013858
Agency Tracking Number: 247381
Amount: $1,099,993.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 32k
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001976
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-08-18
Small Business Information
515 Courtney Way, Suite B, Lafayette, CO, 80026-8821
DUNS: 128688111
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jon Lubbers
 (303) 516-9075
Business Contact
 Tyler Walker
Phone: (303) 516-9075
Research Institution
A commonly noted sensor need for nuclear power systems is flow sensing in the various heat transfer mediums and to monitor medium velocities and characterize mixing and/or cooling.This is particularly needed for small modular reactors (SMR) and molten salt reactors (MSR).Such sensors must be able to tolerate high temperatures, high pressures, highly corrosive liquids, and radiation (neutron and gamma) environments while being minimally disruptive of coolant flow.Sporian is working with nuclear power original equipment manufacturers to develop a small, high-reliability, high-temperature-operable, liquid flow sensor.This development is based on Sporian’s past experience with high-temperature sensors and packaging, and facilitative ceramic electronics packaging technologies.The Phase I effort included evaluation of materials, design development, lowfluence neutron irradiation testing, and proof of feasibility prototype demonstration in MSR-relevant conditions.The Phase II effort included: design and development of dedicated drive and signal conditioning electronics; development of the next generation of sensor and packaging designs for SMRs; rigorous lab-scale testing and demonstration of prototype devices; and high-fluence neutron irradiation testing at a test reactor.The Phase IIB effort will include the following steps to promote technology commercialization: implementation of industry-standard quality assurance and control protocols; detailed system risk assessment; rigorous lab-scale V&V testing of flow sensor systems; highfluence neutron irradiation testing of sensors at a test reactor; final product testing and demonstration under representative conditions at 3rd-party test facilites.The ability to deploy a distribution of flow measurement sensors within the reactor vessel or reactor core would greatly improve the ability to continuously measure the amount of margin available, and to operate at higher temperatures for improved thermal efficiency.This increase in efficiency will allow more electricity to be generated from the same nuclear fuel investment.The proposed sensor also has the potential to improve public safety and reduce negative environmental impacts by assuring reactor cooling system flow.A high-temperature flow sensor could have various additional applications for flow sensing in fossil fuel, transportation, and industrial applications.For example, the sensor also has potential to provide compressor bleed air flow measurement for fossil fuel energy generation turbines.

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

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