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The Babcock Nuclear Division was asked to design and manufacture a Fuel Integrity Monitoring System (FIMS) for the Oldbury Site.

The system taps into the cooling CO2 flow that is already diverted by one of the existing safety systems, the Burst Can Detection System, which uses it to continually monitor the integrity of the fuel.

Adrian Mitchell, generation optimisation programme manager at Oldbury, said: ‘Essentially, we divert some of this gas, bulk it together and pass it over a radiation detector, which is set to check for some very specific isotopes.

‘If we find these isotopes an alarm sounds.

‘However, the complication is that we collect it from three different channels and the alarm sounds if two of them have the telltale radiation signature.

‘Therefore, for the system to work accurately, all the pipe work leading to the FIMS monitoring cabinets has to be exactly the same length.

‘In reality, the distance between the sampling points and the measuring points varies, so we had to design pipe runs that made the distances identical.’ He added: ‘The monitoring is constant so, essentially, FIMS looks for change.’

Babcock Nuclear Division

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