Instrumentation & Controls
Our capabilities regarding I&C systems run the full spectrum from sensor technology development to in-loop testing of sensors and control systems to design of control system architectures.
Overview of Capabilities
I&C system design and analysis is a core competency at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in particular for reactor I&C systems. We have 60+ years experience with the design, development, implementation, and analysis of nuclear power reactor I&C systems and equipment. Our multidisciplinary staff can address all aspects of I&C systems including:
- signal transmission and processing,
- control and protection functionality,
- communications, and
- systems integration
ORNL supports the NRC, DOE, NASA, and IAEA on reactor I&C systems work.
ARSS I&C Staff International Activities
Several staff members are internationally recognized experts in I&C technology. Relevant experience includes the identification and assessment of emerging I&C technologies, development, and qualification of sensors for harsh operating environments, development of temperature measurement techniques, and implementation of wireless technologies. Staff has participated in international I&C collaborations with South Korea, Japan, Brazil, and South Africa as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and supports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in evaluating I&C technologies.
Key Design and Technology Development Areas
Four key capability areas where our reactor I&C staff typically provide support include:
- development and assessment of emerging I&C technologies,
- development of sensors for harsh operating environments,
- control systems design and architecture, and
- identification of requisite R&D for advanced reactor I&C systems.
Examples of Current R&D Projects
We are collaborating with Westinghouse and Brazil's Instituto de Pasquisas Energeticas e Nucleares (IPEN) under a DOE International Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (I-NERI) (see picture) to develop specialized I&C technologies for Integral Primary System Reactors (ISPRs). IPSRs have distinctive I&C configuration and requirements as compared to more conventional external-loop LWRs. ORNL's task is to develop a sensor to obtain accurate in-vessel water level measurements based upon the development of a new ultrasonic, torsional waveguide-based level measurement technique.
In support of NRC, our staff recently completed an assessment of international regulatory approaches used for implementation of digital I&C systems. The objective of this project was to determine the assumptions and technical bases needed to prepare for licensing future reactors.
At ORNL, our ARSS staff is involved in testing and experimental activities that complement our analytical capabilities. Two key areas include our Reactor Technology Lab(RTL) and I&C Sensor Development Lab (SDL). The focus of the RTL is to conduct R&D in a flexible bench-scale mode for liquid metals related to the production of electrical power at high temperatures and low pressures for terrestrial and space power reactor applications evolving to larger facilities to perform larger-scale, forced-flow testing. Incorporated within the RTL is an I&C test bed to support the development and assessment of new I&C control systems and algorithms. Here, signals identical to those produced from plant sensors are generated to simulate acquisition and processing by representative control systems. In the SDL, new measurement and detection techniques are developed and tested. Novel detector materials for measuring temperature, level, and radiation are developed. The SDL is designed to support testing and experiments that involve high temperatures, high voltages, use of lasers, use of sealed radiation sources, and fabrication of detector materials.
Point of Contact
Gary T. Mays, Group Leader
Advanced Reactor Systems & Safety
Phone/Fax:(865) 574-0394/(865) 574-0382
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
One Bethel Valley Rd.
P. O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6165