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Advanced acoustic detection system for monitoring nuclear power plant components

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An acoustic event detection system is presented, which was installed at all four units of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in 2002 and has since been modified several times to follow technical developments. The system monitors the whole reactor coolant system, including its components. The original aim of the system was to monitor and detect loose parts. Fortunately, the occurrence of loose parts is rather rare, but several acoustic events have been registered since the beginning of its operation. Event detection is based on a sequential probability ratio test (SPRT), which is the fastest method in the sense that it requires the minimum number of samples to find the event. It is demonstrated that the SPRT can detect acoustic events buried in the background noise. The monitoring system is fully automated, collecting all abnormal occurrences, ie deviations from normal operation, deviations from usual background noises, etc. We also demonstrate the typical spectra of the operation of different components. During the 13 years of operation, flow-induced vibrations of the motor-operated valves were monitored continuously and movements of the control rod driving mechanism were registered. The system automatically records the start of the main coolant pumps, detecting small-sized loose parts termed 'debris'. Sensitivity is demonstrated with automated registration of the water flowing from the control rod bank during the outage of the reactor.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2016

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