A recently developed technique “Spread Spectrum Time Domain Reflectometry” (SSTDR), and supporting test devices will be adapted and tested to monitor and diagnose nuclear plant electrical systems. Current time domain reflectometry methods cannot detect or locate small faults after arc fault events, because their impedance discontinuity is too small and transient to create a measurable reflection. However, on-line, unobtrusive SSTDR can detect and locate arc and other electrical faults when the (∼msec) short circuit returns a strong reflected signal. These observations have led to development of SSTDR. If SSTDR can be successfully adapted to present and future nuclear plant electrical systems, it will be possible to monitor, on-line, the integrity of the electrical system continuously and with only minor equipment modification and no consequential safety issues. An integrated circuit (IC) is under development at the University of Utah for applications in the aircraft industry that will be adapted and used for this proposed development.

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