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A comprehensive program is underway at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation to develop and evaluate acoustic monitoring systems as a nondestructive testing tool for nuclear power plants that will assure structural integrity with minimum interference to normal power plant activities. A prime requirement for instrumentation for nuclear reactors is that it should function reliably in severe environments for several years. Sensors and instrumentation for source location and display developed for this application are described. Results of tests performed in major test facilities for vessel flaw growth, vessel rupture, and pipe rupture under various operating conditions are summarized. Evaluation performed in nuclear power plants both during hydro tests and operation of plant is presented. Laboratory tests for studying relationships between acoustic emission and fracture mechanics technologies are presented along with a summary of wave propagation results. Measurements, to date, indicate that an acoustic monitoring system has practical applications in nuclear power plants for improving safety and availability of plants.
acoustics, emission, nuclear power plants, nuclear reactors, instruments, pressure vessels, monitors
Manager, Instrument Systems Development, Westinghouse Nuclear Energy Systems, Pittsburgh, Pa.