Recovery Act - A Holistic Approach for In-Situ Cable Condition Monitoring in Nuclear Power Plants

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Analysis And Measurement Services Corporation
9119 Cross Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

In the U.S., almost all 104 operating commercial nuclear power plants have applied or plan to apply for license renewal, and over 50 percent have already received approval. This allows the utilities who own these plants to operate them for up to 60 years, and discussions have already begun for a second round of license renewals to allow nuclear power plants to operate up to 80 years or more. These developments highlight the need for frequent maintenance of the safety-related components of the plant. Of particular interest is the management of cable aging. Although individual cables can be replaced, wholesale replacement is neither a prudent nor a practical aging management strategy. A more cost effective strategy is based on an objective assessment of the condition of the cable and an estimate of its remaining life. However, no single method is currently available that can provide a complete picture of the condition and health of a cable as installed in a nuclear power plant. Therefore, a combination of techniques including insulation test methods and conductor test methods are needed to provide a means for management of aging of nuclear power plant cables. During the proposed project, AMS will investigate the state-of-the-art in cable condition monitoring techniques applicable to nuclear power plant wiring systems, and evaluate them as to their effectiveness to identify degradation mechanisms in cable circuits through objective laboratory experiments. The result of Phase I will be a conceptual design of a comprehensive cable condition monitoring system utilizing wireless technology where applicable. Phase II will develop and test the prototype system that will be conceptualized in Phase I. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Successful commercialization of this product will result in a holistic cable health management system using the state-of-the-art in cable condition monitoring techniques, especially those that are adaptable to wireless data transmission. Applications include insulation degradation detection and identification of gross and localized cable and connection problems. The system will have immediate application in nuclear power plants as well as other commercial or industrial facilities interested in effectively managing aging assets.