NEUP DE-FOA-0000613

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Proposal Package

File:V1 BudgetDE-FOA-0000613.pdf

Indivudual PDF files

File:Summary DEFOA-613.pdf

File:V1 Narrative DEFOA-613.pdf

File:V1 BudgetJust DEFOA-613.pdf

Funding Opportunity Announcement

File:FOA NEUP 613 2012.pdf

Project Narrative

Project narrative is 8 pages maximum including cover page, table of content,

Project Objectives

We propose to establish the infrastructure for an educational platform that will attract and instruct students in modern nuclear instrumentation and control (I & C) methods to serve the nuclear power fleet, national labs, and technology based industries for the next generation. The emphasis will be the use of real time digital instrumentation in both an education and research environment. Our objective will be to use the support from this proposal to construct 5 education stations and one end station for high neutron fluence based research containing the digital technologies used in national research labs and industry. According to the IAEA, about 40% of the worlds operating nuclear reactors have modernized their analog based instrumentation and control systems with digital technology. We believe our proposal will establish a practical modern instrumentation training facility in support of the NEUP's mission to further NS&E R&D and education.

ISU's NS&E program

Idaho State University has a wide breadth nuclear science and engineering program encompassing disciplines in Health Physics, Nuclear Engineering, and fundamental Nuclear physics. Idaho State University's Health Physics program is housed in the Nuclear Engineering department and offers graduates degrees as well as an ABET accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Health Physics. The Nuclear Engineering department offers an ABET accredited Bachelors of Science degree and houses a training and research nuclear reactor (AGN-201). A fundamental Nuclear physics facility, known as the Idaho Accelerator Center, has an established research record in areas ranging from the radiochemistry of medical isotope production to nuclear physics applications addressing homeland security issues in cooperation with the Idaho National Lab. ISU's NS&E program has over 20 faculty and 50 students working in the Nuclear arena.

Proposal's Impacts on NS&E, R&D and Education

ISU's NS&E program and the nuclear fleet share the same need for equipment modernization. ISU's current program has been providing students with an opportunity to be trained and work with instrumentation commonly used by the nuclear workforce. For more than 5 years, a joint continuing education program between ISU and the Idaho National Lab has been working to transfer knowledge to their nuclear workforce from ISU. We propose to take the next step in this knowledge transfer by creating a modern instrumentation laboratory and end station to educate students, pooled from ISU's NS&E programs as well as INL's nuclear workforce, with instrumentation and control (I & C) skill sets that support the nations intellectual dependence on Nuclear Engineering and Nuclear Science. In addition to adding a practical training element to the continuing education program between ISU and the Idaho National lab, the modern instrumentation laboratory can facilitate the exchange of knowledge between current members of the workforce and those seeking to enter it.

Equipment Use goals

The equipment acquired through this proposal will be used to establish 5 digital instrumentation stations, similar to a station in current use shown in Figure ZZZ, that are used to perform 5 separate measurements using 5 different instruments. One lab will calibrate and use a high purity Germanium (HpGE) detector to identify the nuclei in given activated multi-element sample using gamma spectroscopy. A second lab will make measurements using long neutron sensitive scintillator which determine the position dependence of a source along the scintillator based on signal flight times to PMTs attached to both ends of the scintillator. A third experiment will measure the properties of an ionization chamber signal as a function of applied voltage exploring one of the fundamental instruments used, the geiger muller tube. A fourth experiment will measure the detection properties of a a custom solid state detector that has been made sensitive to neutrons by radiation damage. The final experiment will use a fission chamber purchased from General Electric in both the classroom station and under the high neutron fluence rates at the proposed end station.

A high neutron fluence end station will be constructed using an MeV electron beam and a high Z converter material (Tungsten). The figure below is a conceptual drawing of the collimator with a heat exchanger cooling system wrapper around the Tungsten cylinder. The Tungsten converter will be machined from a solid Tungsten cylinder. The cylinder will be mounted on a custom stainless steel carrier capable of supporting part of requested shielding. An electron beam accelerated to energies up to 50 MeV and is capable of depositing up to 12 kW of power into the target cell will be used to generate neutrons. A simulation predicting the expected neutron fluence from the proposed system is shown in Figure ZZZZZZ.


As recommended in the June 2008 American Physical Society report "Readiness of the US Nuclear Workforce for 21st Century Challenges", "Stabilizing the long-term funding and management of nuclear science and engineering education programs, in particular for the university research and training reactor facilities that are so important to the education of nuclear scientists and engineers. It is essential that this be done – the number of such programs cannot be allowed to diminish further."

The requested equipment and instrumentation has a high potential to improve or expand the research and training capabilities of the nuclear education program at ISU.

The skill sets honed by this digital instrumetation lab will help to modernize the nuclear work force for current systems as well as the US-EPR, the APWR, and the ESBWR, new nuclear plants under consideration.

Three new designs—the US-EPR, the U.S. version of the EPR, by AREVA NP; the APWR by MHI; and the ESBWR by General Electric-Hitachi (GEH)—are briefly described here to illustrate the current state in digital I&C architectures in NPPs.

ISU has recently expanded the research capabilities with the acquisition of a 200,000 sq. ft. facility to house both academic and privatized research activities.

A the brightest students to the nuclear professions and supporting the Nation’s intellectual capital in Nuclear Engineering and relevant Nuclear Science, such as Health Physics, Nuclear Materials Science, Radiochemistry, and Applied Nuclear Physics Improving relevant university and college infrastructures for conducting R&D and educating students

Supporting NE’s goal of facilitating the transfer of knowledge from an aging 

nuclear workforce to next generation of workers

Merit Review Criterion

(a) The creation of a modern instrumentation and controls lab will substantially expand the research and training capabilities of ISU's NS&E program. The skills learned can easily be transferred to the testing and training reactor facility operated by the Nuclear Engineering department. However the most aggressive expansion will be in the creation of an accelerator driven high neutron fluence facility. This proposal will provide the end station equipment as well as test cell that will allow an existing accelerator located at the IAC to become a high fluence neutron source for both research and education. This end station will be equipped with a fission chamber that is currently used for "in the core" measurements of neutron fluence in the nuclear industry. The commissioning of this facility will open the door to further research in neutron flux detector development as well as materials studies.

(b) While the 20 faculty serving ISU's current NS&E programs provide an wide breadth of intellectual support for the proposed modern instrumentation lab and end station facility, the core personnel responsible for project execution have expertise in data acquisition and accelerator driven systems. The PI has more than 5 years of experience with the digital acquisition systems used in intermediate nuclear energy national physics labs and has installed identical systems in his research lab. The Co-PI has spent the last two years configuring and operating an accelerator based radio isotope end station. The Co-PI will transfer those experiences to the development of a high neutron fluence end station that is also accelerator driven in cooperation with accelerator physicists at the Idaho Accelerator Center. Two other faculty members will develop the experiments to be performed at the five training stations in the digital instrumentation and controls lab.

(c) We anticipate that the digital instrumentation and control lab will become the second in a series of labs to train students in nuclear instrumentation and control. A current instrumentation lab trains students on the operating principles of detectors and uses analog signal processing to drive counters to quantify the activity of radioactive sources. This "analog" instrumentation lab has been taught by faculty from the Nuclear Physics and Health Physics programs for more than 5 years. More than 10 students have been taking the class each time it was offered. We anticipate at least 5 of those students would continue their education and enroll in the "digital" instrumentation and controls lab.

(d) The digital instrumentation and control lab will be equipped with several modern electronics modules to facilitate the objective of this proposal. Th ISU physics department currently has 5 VME based crates that are used to house digital modules for processing analog input signals to a digital format that is available through the back plane of the VME crate. The physics department has recently purchased 5 modern micro-controllers for the VME crates which use the latest intel processors to control and transfer data from digital modules in the VME crate. We would like to continue the modernization by purchasing another VME system for a research based station as well as several digital modules for all 6 VME systems. The Idaho Accelerator Center has recently deployed a new linac in a heavily shielded room with a high current for medical isotope production. We propose adding to this facility a target system optimized to produces neutron fluences of at least [math]10^{13}[/math] n/cm/sec with a predicted maximum fluence of [math]10^{15}[/math] n/cm/sec.

The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used to evaluate applications 
submitted under this FOA: 
Rating criteria include demonstrations of increasing or enhancing research or teaching 
a. (50%) Potential of the requested equipment, instrumentation, modification, or 
service to improve or expand the research and training capabilities; 
b.  (20%) Adequacy of the number and qualifications of key persons developing and 
carrying out the project, and the qualification of project personnel assessing 
project results and disseminating findings. 
c.  (20%) Amount of student and faculty usage of the capabilities, and the amount 
and variety of research and/or services actually provided by the facility; and 
d.  (10%) Reasonableness of the proposed equipment or instrumentation to achieve 
the proposed objectives.   

Project Timetable

The support structure for this funding opportunity asks for a performance period that ends within one year of the award date. All digital equipment purchase orders will be issued within the first 3 months of the award. Custom equipment will be under contract with the appropriate vendor within the first 6 months of the award. Installation of all digital equipment is expected to be complete 9 months after the award. Commission of all digital instrumentation stations will be completed at the end of the first year and the high fluence neutron end station target will be installed.

Month^* Goal
3 Complete equipment purchase order for equipment
6 Conclude custom equipment procurement contracts
9 Complete digital equipment installation and begin commissioning
9 Complete digital equipment commissioning and high power target installation

  • Months after award is received.

Roles of Participants

Participant Goal
A Order and install equipment and prepare lab manuals
B Supervise design and construction of a high power target
C Commission equipment and prepare lab manuals
D Commission equipment and prepare lab manuals

Facilities and other resources

The PIs have created a Laboratory for Detector Science at Idaho State University which houses the groups infrastructure for detector development projects. The 1200 sq.~ft. Laboratory is equipped with flow hoods, a darkroom, and a laminar flow hood used to provide a clean room environment sufficient to construct small prototype detectors. A CODA based data acquisition system with ADC, TDC, and scaler VME modules has been installed to record detector performance measurements. The PIs also established a student machine shop containing a mill, a lathe, drill press, table saw, and band saw which occupies its own space for the physics department to share. A 400 sq.~ft., class 10,000 clean room has been constructed in ISU's physics department. These facilities have a history of being used to construct detectors, measure detector prototype performance, and design electronic circuits.

Insert description of white room accelerator which will be used for the project.

The Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC) is located less than a mile away from campus and ten operating accelerators as well as a machine and electronics shop with a permanent staff of 8 Ph.D.s and 6 engineers. Among its many accelerator systems, the Center houses a Linac capable of delivering 20~ns to 2~$\mu$s electron pulses with an instantaneous current of 80 mA up to an energy of 25 MeV at pulse rates up to 1~kHz. The IAC and JLab are currently constructing an accelerator to test a candidate positron source system for JLab. A full description of the facility is available at the web site (

Requested Equipment

The proposed digital instrumentation lab and end station will be based on a VME (Versa Module Europa; IEEE 1014) bus system with a single board computer to control digitization modules and data transfers. The VME bus with a computer controller is one of several widely used standards for controlling distributed devices on a network (Iterbus-S). We choose this system to introduce the student to a decentralized architecture. Each station will have one VME crate with an Intel based controller made by GE (GE XVB601). Each station will also require a discriminator and a two channel gate delay generator to from a digital trigger pulse for the data acquisition system. Three lab stations will need a standard ADC and one will need a flash ADC for pulse shape discrimination. Three stations will require post amplifier NIM modules and one will need a TDC for Time of Flight measurements. The cost and quantity of these modules as well as the costs of addition infrastructure for their use is listed in Table XXX.

We also propose the construction of a target cell and chamber to be used with an electron accelerator for the purpose of producing neutron fluences of 10^{13} neutrons/sec/cm^2.

Valeriia should write about the target cell

It has been shown that spallation sources cost about a factor of 5 more to produce neutron fluxes of 10^{16} n/s/cm^2 than accelerator base neutron sources H. Safa, EURISOL Target Working Group Meeting, Saclay, May 21, 2001

The neutron energy distribution drops two orders of magnitude in intensity at neutron energies above 1 MeV and flattens out.

Cost Description
$50k Target (Valeriia)
$30k Target Enclosure (Valeriia)
$20k beam monitors (FC Yujong)
$30k GE fast and slow neutron detectors
$110 k 5 DAQ workstation enhancements ($10k NIM modules, $1k lemo cables, $12k VME module, $2k host computer)
$50 k 1 End Station DAQ system ($6k VME crate, $4k ROC, $3k trigger supervisor, $14k NIM modules, $1k cables, $20 k VME modules, $2k host computer,)


The proposed digital instrumentation lab will be a training platform for students and the additional end station can provide opportunities for both students and faculty research in the Nuclear arena. Based on the demand experienced with the analog instrumentation lab, we expect at least 5 students to enroll in each class. We also expect the high neutron fluence end station to receive considerable use as both a research and training vehicle. We expect at least two experiments per year will be performed at the facility with the potential for publication in refereed journals. When fully commissioned the end station facility would be available for outside users.

Project Summary/Abstract

We propose to establish the infrastructure for a modern nuclear instrumentation laboratory that will attract and instruct students in instrumentation and control (I & C) methods to serve the nuclear power fleet, national labs, and technology based industries for the next generation.. The emphasis will be on real time insrumentation using modern digital equipment.

According to the IAEA, about 40% of the worlds operating nuclear reactors have modernized their analog based instrumentation and control systems with digital technology.

Budget Justification

The proposed budget will support the creation of a digital instrumentation lab for educating students and a high neutron fluence end station for both research and training. A list of all the equipment and costs is given in Table EquipmentCosts. Five digital instrumentation stations will be established to control and perform digital measurements of the instruments described in the narrative. The VME crates and single board computers are available for five of these stations but each station requires a input/output module for interrupting the VME backplane, a VME based module for digitizing analog signals (ADC, TDC, ...) , a host computer for data storage and control, several coaxial signal cables, and NIM modules. A high neutron fluence end station will also be configured which duplicates the components used for the class room instrumentation stations and is specialized for the end station. A target system for the production of neutrons using an electron linac will contain several items which collectively amount to $73,000 but individually are less the threshold of $25,000 quote requirement. While most of the detectors to be used in the proposed digital instrumentation lab are in house, we would like to acquire a fission chamber from General Electric at a cost of $30,000.

The cost of creating 5 digital instrumentation stations for a classroom based training facility and an end station for practical training in an environment exposed to high neutron fluences will be approximately $227,000. Each of the 6 total stations will need a host computer, a IO module for VME interrupts, discriminators to discriminate an instruments analog output, dual timers to provide digital signal delays, and digital signal level translators. These modules represent a basic VME based data acquisition system. The coincidence units will be used to determine if the analog output of two detectors occurs within the same time interval. Two fast amplifiers are needed for the HpGe detector and ionization chamber stations. Three stations will require time to digital converters (TDCs) and three will require analog to digital converters (ADCs). A flash ADC will be used for the pulse shape discrimination station. Although we currently have enough VME crates and single board computers for the classroom stations, we will need to purchase a crate and computer for the end station. We have allocated a coaxial cable budget of $6,000 to transport analog and digital signals for all the stations. We also need two additional NIM bins to power the NIM modules for two of the labs while we expect to use 4 NIM crates currently in hand for the remaining stations. We would also like to purchase an EPICS embedded digitizer for $18,000 for the students to share and use to evaluate the time evolution of signals that they will be measuring at each digital instrumentation station.

Costs for the high neutron fluence target system are based on a design which has been in development for several months. The target is designed to withstand the power deposited by a 10 kW electron beam. The Tungsten converter will be acquired at a cost of $11,000. A Stainless steel chassis will be used to hold the cylindrical converter at a cost of $12,000. Shielding the high power target carries most of the cost for the system. High density concrete has been estimated to cost $20,000 by the radiation safety group. Borated Polyethylene is also required and will cost $21,000. A heat exchanged to cool the tungsten target is estimated to cost $9,000.

Cost Description
$18,000 6 SIS3610 I/O modules
$12,000 6 Host computers for DAQ control and storage
$20,000 6 CAEN dual timers N93B
$12,000 3 CAEN quad coincidence units N455
$6,000 2 Four channel CAEN fast amplifiers N978
$24,000k 6 CAEN discriminators ( N840, N 842, N844)
$18,000k 6 Level Translators
$18,000 3 CAEN TDC V775
$18,000 3 CAEN ADCs V792
$9,000 1 Flash ADC 250 MHz Struct
$6,000 1 VME crate 64x
$4,000 1 Single board computer (GE XVB601)
$6,000 coaxial cables
$18,000 EPICS compatible digital scoilloscope
$8,000 2 NIM bins
$11,000 Tungsten target for neutron production
$12,000 Stainless Steel Target holder
$20,000 high density concrete shielding
$21,000 Borated polyethylene shielding
$30,000 GE fast and slow neutron detectors
$110 k 5 DAQ workstation enhancements ($10k NIM modules, $1k lemo cables, $12k VME module, $2k host computer)
$50 k 1 End Station DAQ system ($6k VME crate, $4k ROC, $3k trigger supervisor, $14k NIM modules, $1k cables, $20 k VME modules, $2k host computer,)

Classroom experiments

ToF Scintillator based neutron detection (Dan)

PMT signal is 50-100 mV. Need a NIM module to discriminate the pulse then a NIM-ECL translator to convert the discriminated output to an input for the TDC. Two gate generator channels are needed to generate a digital trigger for the DAQ.

Pulse shape discrimination of photons and neutrons

A Flash ADC can be used to confirm pulse shape discrimination as a technique to separate photons from neutrons.

Identification of nuclei using gamma spectroscopy (Valeriia)


The HPGE detector has a long (2 usec) analog output pulse which can be measured using a standard ADC. A discriminator and 2 channels of gate generators will be needed to create the trigger. Up to 2 MeV energy range will be used. The students will have to perform two tasks. First, they will have to calibrate HPGE detector using point sources of known activity. Five to ten microCi sources will be used, such as Am-241 (E_gamma=59 keV), Mn-54 (E_gamma=835 keV), Na-22 (E_gamma=1275 keV) and others. Once the detector is calibrated the students will be given previously activated multi-element samples. They will have to chose a right position to place the sample to get high enough count rate and not too high of the dead time. They will have to identify elements by the energy of the most pronounces peaks and give a qualitative analysis of the sample.

Neutron detection using ionization chambers (Tony)

He-3 tubes, fission chambers

Post amplifier for the ionization chamber. Discriminator to set a level and then a 2 channel gate generator for the trigger.

Solid state neutron detectors (Tony?)


2008 reports

Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce for 21st Century Challenges

A Report from the APS Panel on Public Affairs Committee on Energy and Environment , June 2008

pg 22 recommendation 7.2 1b

File:NUREG-CR-6992USNRC 2010 InsturnControlsinNucPowerPlantUpdate 2008.pdf

pg 83

"In the US-EPR, many subsystems within overall I&C systems are implemented with either the TXS or TXP platform, with some exceptions of hardwired implementations."

1997 report

ISBN: 978-0-309-05732-5, 128 pages, 8.5 x 11, paperback (1997)Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems in Nuclear Power Plants: Safety and Reliability Issues Committee on Application of Digital Instrumentation and Control Systems to Nuclear Power Plant Operations and Safety, National Research Council

"Conclusion 2. The lack of actual design and implementation of large I&C systems for U.S. nuclear power plants makes it difficult to use learning from experience as a basis for im- proving how the nuclear industry and the USNRC deal with systems aspects."


section on pg 91 of the 2008 report above indicates that the Instrumentation and Controls systems for the nuclear fleet may be based on the Mitsubishi Electric Total Advanced Controller Platform (MELTAC)

according to

On March 2 - 6, 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) completed an audit of the Mitsubishi Electric Total Advanced Controller (MELTAC) digital platform at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s (MELCO) Kobe, Japan facility. The MELTAC digital platform is described in Topical Report MUAP-07005-P, “Safety System Digital Platform -MELTAC-,” Revision 3, which was submitted by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI). MELCO is the supplier of the MELTAC platform to MHI. The enclosed report documents the audit findings that were discussed on March 6, 2009, with Mr. Makoto Takashima of MHI, Mr. Katsumi Akagi of MELCO, and members of their staff.

pg 14-17 has some topical points for this proposal.

Westinghouse Training Facility

Westinghouse Celebrates Grand Opening of First-of-a-Kind Startup Test Engineer Training Facility August 30, 2010 by admin Filed under General, Westinghouse Electric Company Leave a Comment PITTSBURGH, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ — Westinghouse Electric Company celebrated the grand opening of a First-of-a-Kind Startup Test Engineer Training Facility at its headquarters in Cranberry Township, Pa. on August 25, 2010. The grand opening celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by facility tours featuring the facility’s diagnostic lab room that comes complete with a flow loop. The Westinghouse Startup Test Engineer (WeSTETM) Training Facility will be used to train Westinghouse employees, customers and industry representatives on the proper testing and safe maintenance of Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant systems, structures, and components. The Westinghouse Startup Test Engineer Training Facility is comprised of a state-of-the-art AP1000 simulator that replicates the AP1000 digital control, protection and monitoring systems for component testing and diagnostics training. In addition to the simulator, which is comprised of a digital lab room and a flow loop lab room, the facility includes two traditional training classrooms. Deva Chari, senior vice president, Nuclear Power Plants, cut the ribbon at the entrance of the facility with the assistance of several leaders from Westinghouse Electric Company. “The opening of this Startup Test Engineer Training Facility is an exciting step in the nuclear renaissance. This facility serves as an important opportunity for our customers, our industry and Westinghouse to provide a high-quality Startup Test Engineer training and qualification program for the Westinghouse AP1000TM nuclear power plant,” said Mr. Chari. The first class of 26 students will begin training at this facility at Westinghouse headquarters on August 30. The training facility has the capacity to train approximately 100 students each year. Each group of students will complete the training within approximately four months. After the training and qualification program is complete, students will be qualified as Westinghouse Startup Test Engineers (WeSTEs). WeSTE qualification exceeds the minimum requirements for Level III Test Engineers as specified in ANSI/ASME NQA-1.

The above training facility is a level above the fundamental DAQ training to be received with this program.  Students trained in fundamental DAQ could be fed into the above training facility after graduation.

Valeriia1.jpg Valeriia2.jpg File:Valeriia3.tif File:Valeriia4.tif Valeriia5.jpg

File:NarVProp 02062012.docFile:BudgVProp 02062012.doc File:CV-Valeriia.pdf