The Potential Role of New Technology for Enhanced Safety and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants Through Improved Service Maintenance

Ted Glen Achorn


Ted Glen Achorn, May 1991

Refinements in the safety and performance of nuclear power plants must be made to maintain public confidence and ensure competitiveness with other power sources. The aircraft industry, US Navy, and other programs have proven many advanced service maintenance methods that may improve commercial nuclear plants.

This thesis is concerned with how new technologies in sensing and monitoring can be used to reduce the potential for hardware failures. The specific components with the greatest impacts upon safety and performance were determined using historical data from the experience of the nuclear industry. Failure modes associated with selected components are used to indicate the most important monitoring needs and these requirements help focus a technology survey for potential improvements. The thesis concludes with a discussion of possible applications which may enhance monitoring needs. Proposals for focusing future research to further develop appropriate technologies are presented.

Nuclear facility managers are provided a means to self-analyze the status of onsite efforts to improve vital safety and performance related equipment in this thesis. Many of the monitoring needs and potential improvements indicated have general application to most plants. The process discussed in this report can be used to further tailor technology to plant specific needs.