Rod Control System On-Line Condition Monitoring and Advanced Diagnostics for Existing and Next Generation Nuclear Power Plants

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-11ER90019
Agency Tracking Number: 97599
Amount: $999,506.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 58 a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000676
Small Business Information
9119 Cross Park Drive, Knoxville, TN, 37923-4505
DUNS: 021567144
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Samuel Caylor
 (865) 691-1756
Business Contact
 Darrell Mitchell
Title: Mr.
Phone: (865) 691-1756
Research Institution
Aging and obsolescence issues have recently led to problems with the rod control systems of existing pressurized water reactors. These issues, along with plans for plant life extension, have prompted the industry to actively seek viable options to monitor the health of these systems in order to ensure reliable plant operation for decades to come. This proposed work offers a comprehensive research and development effort to apply on-line condition monitoring and advanced diagnostics to the rod control systems of existing and new nuclear power plants. The primary product of this project will be a prototype rod control diagnostic system that will take advantage of existing test points inside current-generation rod control system cabinets to continuously monitor for abnormal events and component degradation. In Phase I, the feasibility of a rod control diagnostic system was established by obtaining rod control data from a nuclear power plant during rod movement. This data was used to develop algorithms that identify common rod control system problems. In Phase II, these algorithms will be further developed to provide real-time diagnostic capabilities for identifying a variety of common problems encountered by the industry including electronic card failures; logic errors; timing, latching and rod movement problems; and control rod drive mechanism coil and cable degradation. These issues have led to reactor trips, unplanned shutdowns, and extended refueling outages that resulted in millions of dollars in lost industry revenue and increased costs of electricity for the public. This proposal outlines the significance of typical rod control system problems, how the diagnostic system will address these issues, and additional benefits the proposed development will provide. After the prototype system has been implemented in one or more facilities, a design for a commercial system will be produced. In addition to the existing fleet, the proposing firm will also develop the design for implementing the technology in the next generation of nuclear power plants. This technology can be deployed to pressurized water reactors as a complete system, individual diagnostic modules, or it can be used by the proposing firm under a service contract as measurement and test equipment. As such, there are a variety of commercial applications.

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

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