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Development of Fiber Optic Dry Cask Monitoring System to Enhance Safety and Security of Spent Fuel Transportation and Storage

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023937
Agency Tracking Number: 0000273767
Amount: $199,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-41b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-09
Small Business Information
301 1st Street SW STE 200
Roanoke, VA 24011-1921
United States
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 George Boggs
 (540) 557-5889
Business Contact
 Maggie Hudson
Phone: (434) 220-1559
Research Institution

Continued use of nuclear power is critical to meeting carbon emission goals and ensuring national security. Nuclear power production continually generates spent nuclear fuel (SNF) that needs to be stored in robust storage units called dry casks. The development and deployment a self-contained structural health monitoring system of these dry casks will enhance the safety and security of the payload during transportation and storage. Among Luna’s core Fiber Optic Sensing (FOS) technologies is Optical Frequency Domain Reflectometry (OFDR) utilizing the Rayleigh backscatter and Fiber Bragg Gratings within optical fiber to make temperature and strain measurements. The Fiber Bragg Grating technology is additionally used for tilt measurements and acting as an optical door switch. Another key sensing technology at Luna’s disposal is the use of Fabry-Pérot based measurements for optical accelerometers. The monitoring system proposed will include each of the sensors listed. This sensing suite is capable of covering large areas and allowing the measurement of temperature profiles, deformations, detection of shocks, vibrations, effects of seismic loads, as well as access monitoring for nuclear material accountability. The proposed program looks to focus on integrating the sensors with existing dry cask designs using commercial off-the-shelf equipment. The sensors and equipment needed for these measurements will be powered through solar panels and a battery pack to ensure continued monitoring in the event of damage to the transport vehicle. This technology will provide methods for monitoring key events during transport that could affect the hazardous SNF material. During the Phase I effort, Luna will build on the success of earlier work. The key Phase I efforts will develop a self-contained monitoring system with an independent power supply from the transport vehicle. Throughout the Phase I effort, Luna will stay in contact with its industry partners towards defining and developing a final deployment package that best meets the needs of our future customers. Safe disposal of radioactive waste is arguably one of the critical outstanding challenges for the nuclear industry, and one that has been shown to have a negative impact on societal acceptance. Because of the different storage stages that SNF undergoes, transportation is a crucial part of waste disposal. This proposal aims to enhance the safety and security of transportation of dry-casks containing SNF.

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

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