Instrumentation and Conrol Design for Small Modular Reactors

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) of light water designs are moving toward deployment and advanced SMRs are on their way to becoming a reality. Although the fundamental design characteristics of these reactors are well established, a list of important issues still remains. Among them is the Instrumentation and Control (I & amp;C) sensors for measurement of the variables needed for process control and protection of plant safety. While the current generation of I & amp;C sensors is successfully used at every operating nuclear power plant, the fundamental design differences between SMRs and traditional power reactors may not allow for identical I & amp;C sensors; especially for advanced SMRs. Given a proposed timetable of less than ten years before completion of the first light water SMR in the United States, there is an imminent need for research into the application of currently available I & amp;C sensors, development of new sensors, and investigation of the potential of the advanced and novel sensing technologies for SMRs. This research will be conducted under this project. The goal of this project is to produce process sensors based on existing, emerging, or new technologies to meet the needs of both light water and advanced SMRs. The focus will be on design of sensors which can satisfy the following fundamental characteristics: 1) small enough to fit the compact geometry of SMRs, 2) able to measure two or more variables in the same assembly, 3) stable enough to need no frequent calibrations, 4) have adequate response time, and 5) tolerate the operating environments of SMRs. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The results of this project will benefit the nuclear industry and the general public in several ways. The resolution of technological problems regarding I & amp;C sensors for SMRs will enhance their potential for future deployment, adding a safe, clean, flexible, and affordable energy source to the electric grid. Also, an effective I & amp;C sensor design for SMRs would promote safe operation of the reactors, which will be an advantage to the protection of public safety. In addition to SMRs, the sensor designs which will result from this project can help the existing generation of reactors.