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Fusion Science and Technology
Neutron noise monitoring during plant operation expedites flexure replacement at Salem-1
The nuclear industry has historically relied on intermittent ultrasonic test and visual inspections of pressurized water reactor components to identify and manage degradation. While this reactive approach has proven to be effective, imagine a scenario in which the degradation could propagate throughout the reactor internals, making a more proactive measure necessary to avoid a major enterprise risk to the plant. Could a utility identify the onset of degradation within the reactor internals during plant operation? If so, could a repair be developed prior to the next refueling outage to prevent additional, cascading degradation? That is exactly the situation that Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and Westinghouse engineers were able to navigate over the course of the 2019–2020 operating cycle at Salem Unit 1, resulting in a tremendous success for the plant and a historic landmark in the nuclear industry, while earning the team a 2021 Nuclear Energy Institute Top Innovative Practice (TIP) award.
L. A. El-Guebaly, ARIES Team, and FNSF Team
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 74 | Number 4 | November 2018 | Pages 340-369
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2018.1494946
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
In recent decades, fusion energy for electricity has become an international issue with worldwide interest in several magnetic fusion concepts offering the most promising energy source for this century. From existing experiments to power plants, several next-step facilities (NSFs) must be built to bridge the large gaps in fusion science and nuclear technology. During the course of fusion studies, all power plants and NSFs require an integral nuclear assessment to identify the nuclear parameters and address key issues related to tritium breeding ratio (TBR), blanket design, selection of low-activation materials, radial/vertical build optimization and definition, magnet protection, shielding, activation, and survivability of structural materials in 14-MeV neutron environment. This paper presents our design philosophy, nuclear assessment approach, and recent research results for ARIES conceptual tokamak, spherical tokamak, and stellarator power plants as well as NSFs. Some features of the nuclear activities [such as tritium breeding requirement (overall TBR = 1.05), blanket concept, and radwaste issues] remained fixed between the various designs, while others [such as service lifetime (20 to 200 displacements per atom) and shielding requirements] were subject to change to meet the specific design needs. Emerging challenges and lessons learned from nuclear assessments performed during recent decades are highlighted throughout the paper. In particular, the cost implication of uncertainties in the TBR prediction and the large amount of low-level waste generation are important challenges facing the fusion community and should be addressed by interdisciplinary research programs.