IAEA Coordinated Research Projects (CRP)

Application of wireless technologies in nuclear power plant instrumentation and control systems


Brief Summary

Wireless technologies has proved beneficial in many industries in terms of saving cable costs and installation time as well as increased flexibility of information gathering through temporary sensor deployment. The nuclear industry could also benefit from the adoption of advanced wireless technologies, provided certain issues are resolved. This CRP will address key areas such as relevant codes and standards, nuclear specific environments, cybersecurity and a range of technological issues associated with wireless communication through coordinating and conducting research with subject matter experts and organizations. The results of this CRP will be published as a Nuclear Energy Series report


Background

Wireless technology has matured to a level where it has seen extensive deployment in many industries for measurement, diagnostics and condition monitoring. These applications have demonstrated benefits in terms of reduced wire installation time and costs, and increased flexibility of process instrumentation and control. The nuclear industry could benefit in a similar manner, but issues including, but not limited to standardization, unique environmental conditions, cybersecurity concerns and a more conservative view of adopting new technologies have limited the widespread deployment to date. This CRP aims to research and address these issues by bringing together subject matter experts to share their experience and provide expertise through a programme of coordinated research. To date, the IAEA has not conducted activities or published reports or guidance specific to the application of wireless technologies in the nuclear power industry. However, some non-agency entities have conducted reviews of wireless technology in the nuclear power industry. Notable examples that contain information on wireless

Although no new cable material has been introduced in recent years, advances have been made in improved cable qualification and testing methods and it is now timely for the IAEA to lead an effort to bring the international cable experts together through this CRP to compile their experience and establish the road to the future.


Overall Objective

The overall objective of the proposed CRP is to develop and demonstrate techniques of advanced wireless communication in I&C systems of NPPs that can be used for transferring process and diagnostic information by offering an alternative to wired solutions. This will strengthen Member States’ capabilities for optimization of NPP performance and service life through improved technological and engineering knowledge. The research approach of CRP is listed below:

  • Analysis of standards, regulatory requirements, guidance and practices

  • Environment

  • Wireless security concerns

  • Wireless network architectures

  • Interference and coexistence

  • Signal propagation / footprint

  • Integration with existing I&C systems

  • Energy sources

  • Communication through the containment walls

  • Small modular reactor (SMR) considerations

  • Deployment tools


Research Outputs

The results of this CRP are planned to be published in a Nuclear Energy Series report when the work of the CRP is completed. The report will include all of the results achieved during the course of this CRP and will serve as a source of information to support the application of wireless technologies in nuclear power plants in the IAEA Member States.

Completion Date: 2018