Physics-Based Probabilistic Model Of The Effects Of Ionizing Radiation On Polymeric Insulators Of Electric Cables Used In Nuclear Power Plants

Sponsor: US Department of Energy 

Project Title: Physics-Based Probabilistic Model Of The Effects Of Ionizing Radiation On Polymeric Insulators Of Electric Cables Used In Nuclear Power Plants

PI: Professor Ali Mosleh

Funding Level : $800,000

Proposed Scope: 

The goal of the project is to develop a probabilistic prediction model of time-to-failure of cable jackets subject to radiation caused polymer degradation manifested as change in tensile strength and resistivity.  The main deliverable of the program will be a C++ based simulation code for the probabilistic prediction of the degradation of polymeric insulators of electric cables due to ionizing radiation. The code will be readily compatible with the MOOSE/Grizzly framework developed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for multi-physics simulations. The project will combine theoretical and experimental findings during the course of the research to build radiation caused degradation models for environments consisting of air at different levels of relative humidity, various temperatures, as well as liquid water. Acknowledging the complexities and limitations of fully physics based models, the approach will take two promising technical steps. First, based on more fundamental understanding at molecular levels, we will introduce the notion of “damage precursor” as a key element in developing functional relation between dose levels and mechanical and electrical failure criteria. A damage precursor can be defined as any deviation from normal characteristics of micro-structural properties or any recognizable physical trend towards a failure-inducing threshold. Second, we use a hybrid modeling approach that fuses physics-based and data-driven approaches to produce better predictive power with reduced uncertainty.