With the approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), of the Appendix K power uprates, it has become important to provide an accurate measurement of the feedwater flow. Failure to meet documented requirements can now more easily lead to plant operations above their analyzed safety limits. Thus, the objective of flow instrumentation used in Appendix K uprates, becomes one of providing precise measurements of the feedwater mass flow that will not allow the plant to be overpowered, but will still assure that maximum licensed thermal output is achieved. The NRC has licensed two technologies that meet these standards. Both are based on ultrasonic measurements of the flow. The first of these technologies, which is referred to as transit-time, relies on the measurement of differences in time for multiple ultrasonic beams to pass up and downstream in the fluid stream. These measurements are then coupled with a numerical integration scheme to compensate for distortions in the velocity profile due to upstream flow disturbances. This technology is implemented using a spool piece that is inserted into the feedwater pipe. The second technology relies on the measurement of the velocity of eddies within the fluid using a numerical process called cross-correlation. This technology is implemented by attaching the ultrasonic flow meter to the external surface of the pipe. Because of the ease in installation, for atypical situations, distortions in the velocity profile can be accounted for by attaching a second ultrasonic flow meter to the same pipe or multiple meters to a similar piping configuration, where the flow is fully developed. The additional meter readings are then used for the calibration of the initial set-up. Thus, it becomes possible to provide an in-situ calibration under actual operating conditions that requires no extrapolation of laboratory calibrations to compensate for distortions in the velocity profile. This paper will focus on the cross-correlation method of flow measurement, starting with the theoretical bases for the velocity profile correction factor and its reliance on only the Reynolds number to produce an accurate measurement of the flow, when the flow is fully developed. The method of laboratory calibration and the verification of these calibrations under actual plant operating conditions will be discussed. This will be followed by a discussion of how this technology is being used today to support the Appendix K uprates. Various examples will be presented of piping configurations, where in-situ calibrations have or will be used to provide an accurate measurement of the feedwater flow at a specific location.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
In-Situ Calibration for Feedwater Flow Measurement
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Peyvan, D, Gurevich, Y, & French, CT. "In-Situ Calibration for Feedwater Flow Measurement." Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 1. Arlington, Virginia, USA. April 14–18, 2002. pp. 137-142. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE10-22538
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