Here's something enticing for us nuclear geeks. In InTech's January edition, two software engineers, a software developer and two nuclear plant engineers wrote about the coming age of wireless technology at nuclear plants.
Wireless presence in nuclear power plants is inevitable. The government and industry sectors are preparing...The Department of Energy is funding the research and development (R&D) project:
The project is in two phases to progress over a period of three years. The Phase I effort is completed, and the Phase II project is pending. In Phase I, the feasibility of wireless sensors for equipment condition monitoring in nuclear power plants was the object of investigation. In Phase II, this R&D effort will continue for another two years to address the technical issues that must be resolved to establish the foundation for widespread use of wireless technologies in nuclear power plants.Looks like some big savings can happen at nuclear plants just by keeping up with the latest technologies. And who says nuclear plants are dinosaurs? :-) Here's the 12-page Phase I study if anyone is interested (pdf).
The R&D will focus not only on equipment condition monitoring, but also, and as importantly, for a variety of other applications such as equipment aging and obsolescence management, manpower savings, reduction of radiation dose to maintenance personnel, asset management, and process measurements.
Work in wireless application areas for nuclear power plants is also proceeding at international research organizations, laboratories, and universities. In this phase, we only looked at U.S. organizations.
The next step is Phase II. That effort is due to run for two years to develop and implement a prototype system to use wireless technologies for a variety of applications in nuclear power plants.