The increasing number, size, and complexity of nuclear facilities deployed worldwide are increasing the need to maintain readiness and develop innovative sensing materials to monitor important to safety structures (ITS) for pipe and vessels (PVP) application. For example, nuclear dry cask storage system (DCSS) is a safety-critical facility in need of monitoring over prolonged periods of time. Technologies for the diagnosis and prognosis of PVP systems can improve verification of the health of the structure that can eventually reduce the likelihood of inadvertently failure of a component.

The past two decades have witnessed an extensive sensor technology development using permanently installed piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) for structural health monitoring (SHM). PWAS have emerged as one of the major SHM technologies developed particularly for generating and receiving acousto-ultrasonic waves for the purpose of continuous monitoring and diagnosis. Durability and survivability of PWAS under nuclear environmental exposures has been tested preliminarily. However, the analytical model of PWAS based sensor and sensing system has not been developed with adequate solutions and guideline. This paper presents a study on an analytical model of nuclear environmental effects with PWAS. Environmental variability of a Nuclear-SHM system includes changes in both the sensors and the sensing methodology including acoustic emission (AE), guided ultrasonic waves (GUW), and electro-mechanical impedance spectroscopy (EMIS). We considered the environmental variability considers the effects of temperature changes and radiation. We superposed these changes on the analytical models and determined how much the structural sensing signals change is due to these environment effects for the DCSS system. The analytical modeling of various structural sensing methods to environmental disturbances was studied and the potential of PWAS as irradiation sensors for PVP applications was explored. The paper ends with conclusions and suggestions for further work.

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