F1 technology to help improve nuclear pump monitoring

A consortium between Cosworth Group and Clyde Union Pumps has been awarded funding to perform a feasibility study focused on improving the operational monitoring of nuclear pumping equipment.

For the study, Cosworth Group will use its electronics technologies as data loggers to monitor the pumps that are responsible for circulating water around a reactor under normal operating and potential fault conditions. These pumps are critical components in the safe operation of nuclear reactor installations and are major investments for the operator.

Cosworth Group will be working in partnership with Clyde Union Pumps, who will provide access to a typical pump in a test-lab environment and, if consent can be obtained from an operator, at a client’s premises for durability testing.

The total project cost is £107,970, which is being part funded by a Technology Strategy Board grant. The project is expected to be complete by November 2011.

Using a combination of the technology originally developed for Cosworth Group’s activities in the Formula One motor racing industry and Clyde Union Pumps’ nuclear pumping equipment, parameters such as speed, temperature, flow rate and vibration will be monitored in real time to identify whether a pump is approaching or has exceeded any operational limits of its design or is due for scheduled maintenance.

‘It’s absolutely critical that the nuclear industry has the best technology to ensure safety, availability and efficiency,’ said Jog Lall, Cosworth Group sales director. ‘Being able to record performance data in real time will provide an instant view of the status of any operational nuclear pump. We believe that this approach can have an important impact in the industry.’