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Introduction

Wireless sensors are becoming very popular in industrial processes for measurement
and control, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and management of
operational transients and accidents
Other considerations, e.g. temperature of the reactor, vibration of the reactor, noise of
the environment, radiation and other components status must be monitored so as to
maintain the equipment before they fails, or to take actions to prevent accidents.
Therefore, a real time monitoring and control system is needed for ensuring the safety
of NNP
In the last five years, many sensor manufacturers have teamed up with companies who
make wireless transmitters, receivers, and network equipment to provide industrial
facilities with integrated networks of wireless sensors that can be used to measure
process temperature, pressure, vibration, humidity, and other parameters to improve
process safety and efficiency, increase output, and optimize maintenance activities.

[5] Process
The wireless sensing and transmitting process consists of
sensing,
data processing
communicating components
The process usually consists of a conventional sensing device such as a thermocouple,
resistance temperature detector (RTD), or strain gauge as well as circuitry to convert
the sensor output into an electrical signal (voltage or current), filter the signal, digitize it,
and transmit it to a receiver by using different wirless protocols. If fast data acquisition is
required, the data is sometimes processed at the sensor, and the results are then
transmitted

Sensor

Processor

Wireless
Communication

Storage flash
Power Source

Figure 1: process of a wireless sensor

Wireless Standards
[10] Following are the standards provided by IEEE that can be used in transmitting the
digitized data of sensors output
Table 1: IEEE Wireless Standards

Power Plant Applications


A wireless network can have numerous applications in a traditional power plant setting.
Wireless allows access to remote devices and opens up blind spots in a facility where
measurements are not taken as often as they should be. By adopting wireless,
operators, maintenance, IT personnel and plant management gain convenient access to
information previously unattainable. For example, wireless technology can provide a
cost-effective method for measuring water quality or corrosion in tanks and pipes.
"Steam traps, remote settling ponds, chemical treatment areas, storage areas; wireless
affords the opportunity to glean measurements from areas like these that are difficult to
monitor or not typically monitored," said Ray Rogowski, global marketing director for
Honeywell's wireless business. This access can yield information that improves plant
safety, reliability or efficiency.
Potential of Wireless Applications in Nuclear Industry
The followings are potential non-safety application areas of wireless technology for
enhancement of operability and maintainability in the NPPs

pH readings
By conducting remote analytical pH readings, plant operators can monitor water
quality, thereby eliminating the need to sift through maintenance logs and
corrosion data. With wireless, all of the information is aggregated into a single set
of data.

Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)


When upgrading to VFDs, the control signal wires usually used for contactors
cannot be used because of extensive cabling requirements. Therefore, a power
plant could use a wireless system to transfer analog data "control signals"
between the VFDs and a centralized control system. This helps reduce project
capital expense and also start-up time.

Visual Monitoring Cameras


Visual monitoring using wireless cameras are used to monitor the physical
environment and detect any amguity happens

Personal Digital Assistant


Handheld device, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and laptop applications for
maintenance

Condition-Based Maintenance
Wireless sensors and data transmission equipment to implement condition-based
maintenance

Tele-dosimetry system
Electronic personal tele-dosimetry system helps to manage the personnel
radiation dose as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). A wireless tele
dosimetry system allows real time radiation data and can be used ass an integral
part of nuclear facilitys ALARA program

Wireless Barcode Scanner


Wireless barcode scanning system is used in nuclear industry to identify any
equipment and get its functioning parameters

Radio Frequency Identification


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for tracking parts into and out of inventory

Miscellaneous Applications

Other applications for wireless include data sensing and collection on


Remote transformer stations,
Chimney stacks
Cooling towers
Boiler systems

Steam traps
Rotating equipment like turbines
Data collection and management
Sensor monitoring
Facilities monitoring
Rotating Equipment
Communication infrastructure for mobile computing

Table 2: Summary of Potential Nuclear Power Plant Applications of Wireless

Some Wireless sensors


Tele-dosimetry system
A tele-dosimetry system to keep the personnel radiation dose ALARA. The wireless
tele-dosimetry system allows access to real-time data on radiation exposure and can be
used as an integral part of a nuclear organization's ALARA program. It is used during
refueling outages to monitor workers' possible exposure to radiation.
Centrifugal Charging Pump Gearbox Smart Sensor
It employs smart sensor and wireless technology for diagnostic and prognostic health
assessment for the type of centrifugal charging pump gearbox employed at the facility.
The system consists of a wireless embedded sensor and a custom client-side
application running on a wireless laptop. The sensor acquires and processes data from
two vibration channels. The application running on the laptop fuses data gathered from
the smart sensor to estimate current health and predict remaining useful life. The output
from the smart sensor includes condition vectors, as well as health and prognostic
vectors. These vectors provide information about the condition of the gearbox and its
ability to perform its function for a given mission duration, such as the remainder of the
fuel cycle
Smart Wireless Transmitters
Some nuclear facilities have upgraded their non-safety instrumentation and control
(I&C) systems to include smart transmitters (not smart wireless transmitters). These
include smart pressure, temperature and flow transmitters. The term "smart" implies that
the transmitter has an embedded microprocessor and is capable of transmitting
variables (e.g., alarm state, limit switch position, transmitter health) to a remote station,
such as a system hand-held by a technician. The smart capability of the transmitter also
allows it to be reconfigured, self-checked (both remotely), and/or recalibrated in-line
using a remote hand-held calibrator or station. Many smart transmitters have fieldbus
capability, a standardized digital communication protocol that provides a two-way
communication link among smart field devices and automation systems. It serves as the
LAN for instruments used in process automation and has a built-in capability to
distribute control application across the network
[9] Electronic Dosemeter
An electronic dosemeter carried in a workers pocket measures and displays in real time
the amount of radiation received while the worker performs his or her task. This
dosimeter is also equipped with a function that issues an alarm in cases where the
exposure dosage exceeds a preset value. A silicon semiconductor detector that
features a small size and low power consumption is used as the sensor. The
development of electronic dosemeters has made progress in recent years, noise
immunity and mechanical shock resistance have been enhanced, reliability improved,
and the capability of measuring not only X-rays and gamma rays, but also beta rays and

neutrons, has been realized. Additionally, the data communication capability provided
with an electronic dosemeter enables easy connection to an external data processing
system by means of infrared or wireless communications, enabling the configuration of
a highly functional system for implementing rapid measurement archiving control, area
access control, trend data measurement, and the like.
Wireless communication improves operability and shortens processing time
[9] Area Access Control Apparatus
Installed at the border of the controlled area, the area access control apparatus
automatically screens access to the controlled area, and possesses the following
features.

The exchange of data (such as dose data, dosemeter number, time length
accessing to the ontrolled area, alarm value, etc.) between the electronic
dosemeter and the apparatus is implemented via wireless communication.
A reduction in transit time is achieved by simplifying input of the job number and
by displaying a selectable list of the latest jobs on a screen when entering the
area.
The entire apparatus has a low profile form and high functionality

Applications of Wireless Technology


Apart from sensing different parameters, wireless technology has many applications in
nuclear industry. Following figure illustrates the potential applications of wireless
technology in nuclear power plants.

Figure 2: Application of wireless technology

Field Test of Wireless Sensor Network in the Nuclear


Environment
Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are appealing options for the health monitoring of
nuclear power plants due to their low cost and flexibility. Before they can be used in
highly regulated nuclear environments, their reliability in the nuclear environment and
compatibility with existing devices have to be assessed.
Following tests should be conducted prior to utilizing a wireless sonsor in a nuclear
industry

Electromagnetic interference tests:


EMI with existing reactor safety instrumentation to prove that wireless sensor
networks are compatible

Wireless signal propagation tests


Electromagnetic signal propagation in air ionized by radiation (gamma-ray) fields
to determine if wireless communication is affected

Nuclear radiation hardness tests


Nuclear radiation hardness of the wireless sensors networks nodes to assess
durability

Importance
A survey of 20 nuclear power plants was conducted to determine the current extent of
wireless use in these plants. it is clear that voice and data communication is currently
the most prominent application in these plants. It is expected, however, that wireless
technologies for equipment condition monitoring, process measurement and other
applications will find their way into the nuclear industry over the next five to ten years

Figure 3: Results of Survey of Current Wireless Use in Nuclear Power Plants

Advantages of Wireless Sensors

Easy to Install
Wireless sensors are easy to install

Cost Effective
Wireless sensors are cost effective. Wireline networks usually impose cabling
and installation costs, which can exceed $1000 per linear foot in typical nuclear
power plants. Fortunately, the cost of wireless systems can be less than 1% of
the cost of wired systems in a nuclear plant environment. These cabling costs
alone represent a substantial incentive for plants to explore wireless systems.

Moreover, the wireless industry is aiming to reduce wireless costs from $20/foot
to $2/foot over the next few years

Self-Healing
They have ability of self- healing. If a communication path is interrupted , the
network devices will automatically identify another route to transmit the data until
the original path is restored

Redundancy
They can have built-in redundancy

Non-Intrusive
They are non-intrusive. As they are having no wires so their presence in physical
environment doesnt cause troubles in handling the other instruments or goods

Easy and Quick Access to Data


Furthermore, with wireless sensors, data can be collected from anywhere and
routed on to the Internet where it can be easily accessed and analyzed

Easy to Move
Wireless sensors can also be added as needed, without laying more cabling, and
they can be moved from one location to another without having to move wires.

Resistance to Environmental Effects


An intrinsic benefit to using wireless sensors is that the communication link
between the sensor and destination is largely unaffected by moisture. For
instance, in a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) the containment building of a
nuclear reactor can be inundated with water, which can damage sensitive
equipment cabling. On the other hand, a wireless sensor would likely be
unaffected by this connection issue and continue to provide reliable and
important reactor health information throughout the accident and subsequent
investigations

Drawbacks with Wireless Technology


Though wireless technology is much promising and is much helpful in nuclear industry.
However there are some issue related with it.

Security
Wireless technology needs high security.

How to overcome
The primary means of data protection for wireless transmissions include
encryption, authentication, and intrusion prevention. For monitoring applications,
the standard encryption and authentication is typically sufficient for protection of
the wireless network.

EMI and RFI


Electromagnetic Interference and Radio Frequency Interference can cause
serious problems.
How to overcome
WMI and RFI effects can be subsided by following ways;

The proper shielding the wires used for power and signaling
Provide proper grounding to instruments
There should be appreciable separation between cables. Usually it is
referred to keep 5cm distance between the cables carrying some data
signal
Instruments should also have an appreciable distance between them
Proper filters should be used to avoid any noise coming in the way of
signal
Sensors should be supported by surge suppressers in order to avoid their
damage

Reliability
Wireless technology has more reliability issue. Due to intermittent obstructions to
wireless communication paths from moving objects e.g. cranes, vehicles.
How to overcome
The use of mesh networks that offer redundant communication paths can reduce
the likelihood that normal plant operation will interfere with wireless transmission

Considerations
One should pay heed over the following issue when using wireless sensors in nuclear
industry

sensor data must be guarded against unauthorized snooping;


unauthorized sensors must be prevented from inserting data into the system
the facility network must be guarded against infiltration through sensor networks;
the facility network must be guarded against spoofing devices.

Summary
Wireless technology offers a number of opportunities to power generation facilities
ranging from data and voice communications to equipment condition monitoring. It has
become clear that the wireless technology field is rapidly changing and the trend is
toward ubiquitous computing and communication. Variety of applications can be applied
to nuclear plant environment, including online equipment monitoring for condition-based
maintenance, two-way radio communication, the VoIP phone, mobile computing and
remote video monitoring. Wireless technologies are currently used to some extent for
voice and data communications in nuclear power plants but their use for other
applications are very limited due to infrastructural issues and security concerns. That is,
most nuclear power plants do not have a wireless backbone to build upon and include
wireless sensors for the variety of applications that exist in nuclear power plants.
In the short term, adapt wireless sensors for equipment condition monitoring, determine
the uncertainties of online monitoring techniques for process estimation, and deploy
wireless systems to track the performance of nuclear plant sensors to establish
objective interval for sensor maintenance and replacement.