Advanced High Temperature Control Rod Position Sensor for Nuclear Power Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sporian Microsystems, Inc.
515 Courtney Way Suite B
Lafayette, CO 80026
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Advancements are needed to improve and optimize the performance of existing and future nuclear power plants and nuclear power systems by developing and improving the reliability of advanced instrumentation. A need has been identified for an improved control rod position sensor for fault free confirmation of proper control rod drive mechanism (CRDM) function, maximizing SCRAM reliability, and minimizing SCRAM disengaging time. The technical challenges of developing such a sensor include: small size, high reliability, and harsh environment operation including very high temperatures (600oC) and high pressures (2200 PSIG). Sporian proposes to work with Babcock & amp; Wilcox Nuclear Energy to develop such a small, high reliability, high temperature operable, control rod position sensor, based on leveraging Sporians past experience with high temperature sensors and packaging, and facilitative ceramic electronics packaging technologies. The Phase I effort will include materials experimental evaluation, design development, and proof of feasibility prototype demonstration. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed sensor has the potential to improve public safety and reduce negative environmental impacts by assuring control position in the event of a nuclear reactor trip or scram event. A high temperature Hall effect switch could have a varies of additional applications for position sensing in industrial applications. The sensor also has potential to provide blade tip time timing and tachometric data for fossil fuel energy generation turbines