Skip to main content

Nuclear Plants Are Going Wireless

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.

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.
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).

Comments

Anonymous said…
Don't underestimate the security complications created by wireless at nuclear power plants. Recall that the Slammer virus hit Davis-Besse in 2001 through an unsecured internet connection being used by a contractor. Fortunately the unit was in outage at the time, but the issues involved are non-trivial.
It has been a few years since this comment appeared. However to address your point through a wireless network you mys understand the design. These infrastructures are of the highest encryption and authentication designs and are isolated to the plant floor and fire-walled as well. Even with the most sophisticated equipment the most that one would be able to do is create a minimal confusion that would be immediately identified by the system. These networks are not open protocols.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…