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Neutron Flux Measurements for the PBMR DPP

[+] Author Affiliations
Gordon Procter

Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (Proprietary) Ltd., Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa

Clark J. Artaud

Thermo Fisher Scientific Process Instruments, San Diego, CA

Paper No. HTR2008-58093, pp. 25-32; 8 pages
doi:10.1115/HTR2008-58093
From:
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Volume 1
  • Washington, DC, USA, September 28–October 1, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4854-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3834-1
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME

abstract

For the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Demonstration Power Plant (DPP) several neutron flux measurements are made, both within the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) and outside the RPV. The measurements within the RPV are performed by the Core Structures Instrumentation (CSI) system. While those outside the RPV are performed by the Nuclear Instrumentation System (NIS). The PBMR has a long annular core with a relative low power density, requiring flux monitoring over the full 11 M of the active core region. The core structures instrumentation measures the neutron flux in the graphite reflector. Two measurement techniques are used; Fission Chamber based channels with high sensitivity for initial fuel load and low power testing and SPND channels for measurements at full and near full power operation. The CSI flux monitoring supports data acquisition for design Verification and Validation (V&V), and the data will also be used for the characterization of the NIS for normal reactor start-ups and low power operation. The CSI flux measurement channels are only required for the first few years of operation; the sensors are not replaceable. The Nuclear Instrumentation System is an ex core system that includes the Post Event Instrumentation. Due to the long length of the PBMR core, the flux is measured at several axial positions. This is a fission chamber based system; full advantage is taken of all the operating modes for fission chambers (pulse counting, mean square voltage (MSV), and linear current). The CSI flux monitoring channels have many technical and integration challenges. The environment where the sensors and their associated signal cables are required to operate is extremely harsh; temperature and radiation levels are very high. The selection and protection of the fission chambers warranted special attention. The selection criteria for sensors and cables takes cognizance of the fact that the assemblies are built in during the assembly of the reactor internal structures, and that they are not replaceable. This paper describes the challenges in the development of the monitoring systems for the measurement of neutron flux both within the RPV and the ex core region. The selection of detector configuration and the associated signal processing will be discussed. The use of only analogue signal processing techniques will also be elaborated on.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME

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