Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Self-powered sensors to monitor nuclear fuel rod status

Date:
October 23, 2012
Source:
Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
Summary:
Japan's Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear disaster that occurred in 2011 -- a result of the strongest earthquake on record in the country and the powerful tsunami waves it triggered -- underscored the need for a method to monitor the status of nuclear fuel rods that doesn't rely on electrical power.

Japan's Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear disaster that occurred in 2011 -- a result of the strongest earthquake on record in the country and the powerful tsunami waves it triggered -- underscored the need for a method to monitor the status of nuclear fuel rods that doesn't rely on electrical power.

During the disaster, the electrical power connection to the nuclear reactor failed and rendered back-up electrical generators, coolant pumps, and sensor systems useless. The nuclear plant's operators were unable to monitor the fuel rods in the reactor and spent fuel in the storage ponds.

To address this issue, Penn State researchers teamed with the Idaho National Laboratory to create a self-powered sensor capable of harnessing heat from nuclear reactors' harsh operating environments to transmit data without electronic networks. The team will present their research at the Acoustical Society of America's upcoming 164th Meeting, October 22-26, 2012, in Kansas City, Missouri.

"Thermoacoustics exploits the interaction between heat and sound waves," explains Randall A. Ali, a graduate student studying acoustics at Penn State. "Thermoacoustic sensors can operate without moving parts and don't require external power if a heat source, such as fuel in a nuclear reactor, is available."

Thermoacoustic engines can be created from a closed cylindrical tube -- even a fuel rod -- and a passive structure called a "stack."

"We used stacks made from a ceramic material with a regular array of parallel pores that's manufactured as the substrate for catalytic converters found in many automotive exhaust systems. These stacks facilitate the transfer of heat to the gas in a resonator, and heat is converted to sound when there's a temperature difference along the stack," Ali elaborates.

When a thermoacoustic engine operates, an acoustically driven streaming gas jet circulates hot fluid away from the heat source -- nuclear fuel -- and along the walls of the engine and into the surrounding cooling fluid.

Penn State and Idaho National Laboratory are also investigating using thermoacoustic sound to monitor microstructural changes in nuclear fuel, measure gas mixture composition, and to act as a failsafe device in emergency situations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "Self-powered sensors to monitor nuclear fuel rod status." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023123958.htm>.
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). (2012, October 23). Self-powered sensors to monitor nuclear fuel rod status. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023123958.htm
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "Self-powered sensors to monitor nuclear fuel rod status." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023123958.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins