Amir Zacarias Mesquita

Amir Zacarias Mesquita

Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission, Brazil

Title: Power Monitoring in Nuclear Reactors


Amir Zacarias Mesquita is Doctor of Science in Chemical Engineering - State University of Campinas/Brazil (2005), Master of Science and Nuclear Technologies - Federal University of Minas Gerais/Brazil (1981) and graduated in Electrical Engineering - Federal University of Minas Gerais/Brazil (1978). He is Titular Researcher at Nuclear Technology Development Center (CDTN), a research institute of the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN), and Scholarship of Productivity and Technological Development of Innovative Extension at Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).


Power monitoring of nuclear reactors is done by means of neutronic instruments, but its calibration is always done by thermal procedures. The reactor thermal power calibration is very important for precise neutron flux, fuel element burn up calculations, and mainly to electrical power. The burn up is linearly dependent on the reactor thermal power and its accuracy is important to the determination of the mass of burned U-235, fission products, fuel element activity, decay heat power generation and radio toxicity. Different methods for monitoring and controlling power in nuclear reactors areused.The purpose of this paper is to analyze and present the monitoring processes of thermal power supplied by nuclear reactors and new methods under implementation. Optimization on power monitoring channel will result in a better reactor control and increase the safety parameters of reactor during operation. At first, some primary concepts like neutron flux and reactor power are introduced. Then, some new researches about improvements on power-monitoring channels, which are instrument channels important to reactor safety and control, are reviewed. Furthermore, some new research trends and developed design in relation with power monitoring channel are discussed. Power monitoring channels are employed widely in fuel management techniques, optimization of fuel arrangement and reduction in consumption and depletion of fuel in reactor core. Power reactors are equipped with neutron flux detectors, as well as a number of other sensors (e.g. thermocouples, pressure and flow sensors, ex-vessel accelerometers). The main purpose of in-core flux detectors is to measure the neutron flux distribution and reactor power.

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