Condition monitoring of an advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactor core

Pang, Y. and Giovanini, L. and Monari, M. and Grimble, M.J. (2007) Condition monitoring of an advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactor core. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering, 221 (6). pp. 833-843.

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    Abstract

    A critical component of an advanced gas-cooled reactor station is the graphite core. As a station ages, the graphite bricks that comprise the core can distort and may eventually crack. Since the core cannot be replaced, the core integrity ultimately determines the station life. Monitoring these distortions is usually restricted to the routine outages, which occur every few years, as this is the only time that the reactor core can be accessed by external sensing equipment. This paper presents a monitoring module based on model-based techniques using measurements obtained during the refuelling process. A fault detection and isolation filter based on unknown input observer techniques is developed. The role of this filter is to estimate the friction force produced by the interaction between the wall of the fuel channel and the fuel assembly supporting brushes. This allows an estimate to be made of the shape of the graphite bricks that comprise the core and, therefore, to monitor any distortion on them.