How State-of-the-Art Monitoring Technology Will Be Used at a Turkish Nuclear Power Plant

Turkey has considered adding nuclear power plants to its fleet of generators since at least 1970; yet, no commercial reactor units have ever been completed. That is likely to change soon. The country’s first nuclear power plant commenced construction in April 2018 at Akkuyu. When the planned four-unit facility is finished, about 10% of Turkey’s power will come from the site. Among state-of-the-art features at the new facility will be a condition monitoring system supplied by Brüel & Kjær Vibro.

The first unit at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant is expected to become operational in 2023. Four units with a generating capacity of 1,114 MW each will provide an estimated 35 billion kWh of baseload power each year when the plant is fully completed, which is planned in 2025 (Figure 1).

1. The Akkuyu nuclear power plant is under construction in Mersin province on the southern coast of Turkey. It will be comprised of four power units with VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 4,800 MW. Courtesy: NTC Sphere

Power production will be provided by Russian-supplied VVER-1200 reactors. This pressurized water reactor (PWR) is based on a water-cooled, water-moderated reactor design, which is an important safety feature of the VVER-1200. It has four independent primary circuit loops and includes high-capacity pressurizers that provide a generous supply of reactor coolant water. VVER-1200 reactors use the most modern Generation III+ reactor technology for safety and efficiency.

Machines Monitored

Nuclear power plant safety is universally accepted as a top priority requirement by all, and few dispute the fact that an effective machine condition monitoring and protection solution plays a critical role for this purpose.

A PWR by design has a lot of important machines throughout the plant, including in the primary, secondary, and seawater cooling circuits; safety systems; cleaning systems; and chemical control systems. Nearly all the pumps and fans in these systems will be vibration monitored by Brüel & Kjær Vibro systems (B&K Vibro). There is a total of 80 pumps and 15 fans for each reactor unit. The critical pumps and fans will be monitored by the rack-based VC-8000/SETPOINT system (Figure 2) for both protection and condition monitoring purposes, while the less critical machines will be condition monitored by the VCM-3 field monitor. In addition to these machines, the foundation for the steam turbine will be monitored for vibration and temperature by the VC-8000/SETPOINT system. The steam turbines themselves will be monitored by the turbine supervisory system supplier.

2. The VC-8000 is a rack-based machine protection, condition monitoring, and diagnostics platform for the nuclear power plant’s critical machines. The SETPOINT CMS software provides diagnostic and analysis capability for the detected faults, and stores VC-8000 data in the OSIsoft PI System for condition monitoring, alarm notification, and reporting. Courtesy: B&K Vibro

Monitoring Solution

B&K Vibro was selected as the condition monitoring and protection provider of the Akkuyu project based on unique integration properties of B&K Vibro systems, the best overall price/quality ratio, and good references. The condition monitoring portion of the VC-8000/SETPOINT system will serve as a stand-alone diagnostic workstation for all the critical machines including the steam turbines, which will export time waveform vibration data to SETPOINT CMS (condition monitoring system) for analysis work. The B&K Vibro data in return is exported to the distributed control system via Modbus TCP and OPC UA fieldbus communication protocols. Once the system is up and running, all diagnostic work will be done by the power plant’s diagnostic specialists.

VCM-3 provides a simple, yet scalable solution for detecting faults within balance-of-plant machinery (Figure 3). The system is ideal for replacing a “walkaround” condition monitoring approach, which typically uses handheld devices to take periodic measurements. VCM-3 provides simple to deploy condition monitoring, using cutting-edge “descriptor” technology built on decades of expertise.

3. The VCM-3 is a versatile field monitor for monitoring the balance-of-plant pumps and fans. Advanced fault detection descriptors for early fault detection of gearboxes and rolling element bearings. The SETPOINT CMS software saves the data to the OSIsoft PI System for condition monitoring capability, as is done for the VC-8000. Courtesy: B&K Vibro

SETPOINT CMS has recently been upgraded to connect with VCM-3 as an integrated system, providing a fully scalable condition monitoring and diagnostic solution to cover both critical machines and balance-of-plant. With native connection to the OSIsoft PI System, users can now access data simultaneously from both the VC-8000 and VCM-3. Sharing data in a single repository means plant users can benefit from this data in the OSIsoft PI System from an IT infrastructure point of view.

The monitoring system solution will be implemented by a channel partner of B&K Vibro as a turnkey monitoring solution, while B&K Vibro will supply the monitoring systems and sensors, and will help commission the first reactor unit in 2023.

Proven in the Field

Monitoring nuclear power stations has its challenges in relation to other industries, but B&K Vibro has developed wide expertise in this area through a number of projects over the years. In addition to the Akkuyu power plant, the company’s equipment is currently monitoring, or has monitored prior to decommissioning, a number of nuclear power plants in several countries around the globe.  

The monitoring solution that B&K Vibro provides for the Turkish nuclear power station covers both critical and balance-of-plant machinery using the PI system for storing and accessing data. Both the rack-based systems and the field monitors share the same database, and the same diagnostic tools are available to both systems.

Mike Hastings is a senior application engineer with Brüel & Kjær Vibro, Denmark, and Alexey Vostrukhov is a sales area manager with Brüel & Kjær Vibro, Eastern Europe.

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