Safety is a top priority for nuclear power plants. CO2-cooled reactors are inherently safer than water-cooled reactors, but it is essential to prevent, detect, and repair CO2 leaks to maintain safe operation.
There are many different nuclear power plant designs currently in operation, with varying ways to control nuclear fission chain reactions. Some reactors rely on water as the primary coolant, while others use gases such as CO2 or helium (He), molten metals or molten salts.
Using CO2 as the primary coolant in a nuclear reactor is inherently safer than using water, as CO2 is less reactive and does not pose a risk of exploding. CO2 is also more flexible in terms of operating temperatures and pressures, resulting in a more stable system that responds more slowly to catastrophic faults than water-cooled reactors. However, reactors that use CO2 coolants have lower power densities than water-cooled reactors, resulting in larger reactors and reduced efficiencies.
In both nuclear research and routine operation of CO2 cooled nuclear reactions, it is important to detect CO2 leaks. A CO2 leak can leave the reaction core with no coolant and in danger of overheating. Furthermore, large leaks of CO2 can be dangerous to personnel and the environment, expensive, and disruptive to power plant operation.
Infrared sensors are ideal for monitoring CO2 levels and detecting leaks. Infrared sensors are easy to use and provide rapid online measurements of CO2 concentrations in a package that is robust, reliable, low-maintenance, and long-lasting compared with other gas composition sensors.
Edinburgh Sensors are a leading supplier of high-quality infrared gas sensing solutions, including continuous CO2 detectors. While some infrared sensors suffer from the effects of temperature or pressure variations, sensors from Edinburgh Sensors offer extensive temperature and pressure correction to ensure accurate results in a wide variety of operating environments, making them ideal for nuclear research and operations.
Source: Edinburgh Instruments Ltd.