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Estimation of Sensor Measurement Errors in Reactor Coolant Systems Using Multi-Sensor Fusion...

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Nuclear Engineering and Design
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A nuclear power plant is typically instrumented with a variety of sensors to continually monitor its variables, and their sensor’s measurements may be used to assess the plant state and initiate safety actions, if needed. Errors in sensor measurements, due to factors such as calibration drifts, critically affect such state assessments. We address a problem of estimating sensor errors using physics-informed machine learning methods that use measurements collected under known plant conditions. For a given sensor, we propose an information fusion method that uses measurements from other sensors to estimate its output assuming it is error-free and provides its difference from an actual measurement as an error estimate. We present the ensemble of trees and support vector machine fusers, and evaluate their performance using measurements collected over an emulated test loop of a pressurized water reactor. The plant variables are related to each other through the underlying physical laws under inertial constraints that place bounds on their derivatives, which analytically justify the applicability of machine learning methods for computing these fusers. Under twenty scenarios, we assess their sensor error estimates for pressure sensors of the heat exchanger of a reactor’s primary coolant system. Multiple types of errors are captured by both fusers under externally induced calibration drifts, blockages, minor leaks and air gaps in sensing lines, and electromagnetic interference; the root mean square error of the estimation of error is under 2.2% percent of the maximum measurement. We present generalization equations, in the framework of statistical learning theory, for these methods that characterize the confidence probability that the estimation error is bounded by a specified parameter in future test scenarios.