USING SUB-GHZ WIRELESS SENSORS FOR NUCLEAR PLANT PROCESS AND SECURITY MONITORING


11th International Conference on CANDU® Maintenance and Nuclear Components - 2017 Oct. 01-04

Presented at:
11th International Conference on CANDU® Maintenance and Nuclear Components
2017 Oct. 01-04
Location:
Toronto, ON Canada
Session Title:
Advances in Inspection and Monitoring Techniques 2 - New Monitoring Techniques

Authors:
J. Hollern (AREVA Inc)
M. Liebenow (AREVA Inc)
X. Wang (AREVA Inc)
L. Watkins (AREVA Inc)
J. Perisse (AREVA NP)
C. Duval (ARCYS)
  

Abstract

Wireless technologies have been used in nuclear power plants for many years. Various systems utilize wireless technologies to perform their intended function. Some examples that have been employed include wireless security and Emergency Preparedness (EP) radios, Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) phone systems, wireless controllers for overhead cranes, and wireless business network Wi-Fi. With the exception of the security and EP radios which tend to operate in the 800-900MHz range, most devices operate well above 1GHz. Because of the overall growth of wireless technology and devices, the increasing costs of employing traditional technologies, and the cost savings efforts that are being embraced by the nuclear industry worldwide, new wireless alternatives should be considered for cost reduction and advanced capability. There are many advantages to deploying a sub-GHz sensor network within an industrial environment. Because sub-GHz frequencies can penetrate massive structures with less attenuation than higher GHz frequencies, it makes them an ideal candidate to employ plant-wide with less overall infrastructure to maintain. The type of networks employed for sub-GHz devices typically provides better signal strength and signal to noise ratios in areas of the plant where it is difficult to access or install permanent communications equipment. Some challenges exist with integrating new technology such as LTE-M and LoRa protocol based sensors into existing infrastructure, such as a Distributed Antenna System . Other challenges exist with battery consumption for wireless sensors versus data pull rates and data rate limitations. There are many applications for sub-GHz wireless technology to include supplemental monitoring (I&C;) of plant processes, security monitoring, remote tamper indication, operations monitoring (i.e. manual valve position indication), unmanned fire watch, etc. Many of the applications are intended to provide additional monitoring capability, provided capability for predictive maintenance, or reduce the overall time and expense of Operations and Maintenance of the plant.

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