All nuclear power plants are licensed to operate at a specific thermal power. Verification of this power level is done by measuring the change in the enthalpy of the feedwater times the mass flow of the feedwater through each steam generator for pressurized water reactor or through the reactor vessel for boiling water reactors. When performing this measurement, it is necessary to determine the enthalpy of the steam exiting each steam generator or the reactor vessel. Since the exit enthalpy of most units is saturated steam, the state of the steam must be defined in terms of the enthalpy of dry stream minus the fraction of moisture being carried over with the steam times the heat of vaporization. The quality of the steam can be measured using a throttling calorimeter, but a much more accurate means of measurement is with the use of a chemical tracer salt that is only carried over with the main steam by droplets of water. Thus, the fraction of moisture in the steam can be defined as the ratio of concentration of the tracer in the steam divided by concentration of the tracer in the riser of the generator or reactor vessel. If the moisture content of the steam is not measured, one must assume that it is zero, which is conservative, since it provides an upper limit for the thermal power calculation. However, from an operational standpoint, if moisture carryover is present but is not accounted for, the thermal power of the unit will be below its licensed power level causing a loss in electrical output due both a lower thermal power and a reduction in turbine cycle efficiency. Moreover, if there is significant carryover, there is the potential for additional damage to the turbine blading and housing from the impingement of the water droplets. This paper describes how a chemical tracer can be used to measure the moisture content of the steam, considerations for the injection and sample points, plant alignment recommendations and the support required from a utility, when performing this test. The paper will also discuss the potential for long term degradation, the effects of extended power uprates on carryover and the limitations of chemistry guidelines.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Measurement of Steam Generator or Reactor Vessel Moisture Carryover Using a Non-Radioactive Chemical Tracer
Fournier, R, Thibodeau, M, & French, CT. "Measurement of Steam Generator or Reactor Vessel Moisture Carryover Using a Non-Radioactive Chemical Tracer." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Volume 3: Thermal Hydraulics; Current Advanced Reactors: Plant Design, Construction, Workforce and Public Acceptance. Brussels, Belgium. July 12–16, 2009. pp. 459-467. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE17-75567
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