New Technology for Improved Nuclear Energy Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008

$100K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Idaho National Laboratory
2525 N. Freemont Avenue
Idaho Falls, ID 83415
Institution POC

Abstract

Generation-IV nuclear energy systems, especially the very high temperature reactors are planned to operate at temperatures above 1000 degrees C and with neutron fluence up to cm. Accurate temperature measurements will be needed to identify hot spots, control thermal cycles, and perform temperature compensation of sensors, functions that are critical to the safe operation of these reactors. However, no method exists for testing fiber optic sensors in these environments. This project will develop a methodology and hardware to test prototype optical fiber sensors for Generation-IV fluence and temperature simultaneously in the Idaho National Laboratory Advanced Test Reactor. The project also will determine the durability of the fiber optic sensor and address any challenges discovered. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Accurate temperature measurements should enable commercialization of Generation-IV reactor designs and also increase safety in pressurized water reactors and other Generation-III designs already in operation. Since the sensors will be radiation tolerant and high-temperature capable, they also should find application in space probes, rocket engine monitoring, rocket engine development, and in gas turbine health monitoring.