Factors influencing helium measurements for detection of control rod failures in BWR
Paper in proceedings, 2012
Much effort has been made to minimize the number and consequences of fuel failures at nuclear power plants. The consequences of control rod failures have also gained an increased attention. In this paper we introduce a system for on-line surveillance of control rod integrity which has several advantages comparing to the surveillance methods available today in boiling water reactors (BWRs). This system measures the helium released from failed control rods containing boron carbide (B4C). However, there are a number of factors that might influence measurements, which have to be taken into consideration when evaluating the measured data. These factors can be separated into two groups: 1) local adjustments, made on the sampling line connecting the detector to the off-gas system, and 2) plant operational parameters. The adjustments of the sample line conditions include variation of gas flow rate and gas pressure in the line. Plant operational factors that may influence helium measurements can vary from plant to plant. The factors studied at Leibstadt nuclear power plant (KKL) were helium impurities in injected hydrogen gas, variation of the total off-gas flow and regular water refill. In this paper we discuss these factors and their significance and present experimental results of measurements at KKL.