Penetration Routes of Oxygen and Moisture into the Insulation of FR-EPDM Cables for Nuclear Power Plants

Yoshimichi Ohki*, Naoshi Hirai, Sohei Okada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The polymeric insulation used in nuclear power plants (NPPs) carries the risk of molecular breakage due to oxidation and hydrolysis in the event of an accident. With this in mind, tubular specimens of flame-retardant ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (FR-EPDM) insulation were obtained by taking conductors out of a cable harvested from an NPP. Similar tubular specimens were made from a newly manufactured cable and those aged artificially using a method called the “superposition of time-dependent data.” The inner and outer surfaces of each tubular specimen were subjected to various instrumental analyses to examine their oxidation, moisture uptake, and cross-linking. As a result, it has become clear that oxygen penetrates the cable through gaps between the twisted conductor strands. Meanwhile, water vapor diffuses more often through the sheath than through gaps between the conductor strands. Of the two methods used to simulate design-based accidents in NPPs, the one used to simulate the designed loss-of-coolant accident is more severe to FR-EPDM than the one used to simulate the designed severe accident. In addition, the validity of the method called the “superposition of time-dependent data,” which is used to give artificial aging treatments to cable samples, was confirmed. Measurements of spin-spin relaxation time and residual dipolar coupling using time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance were found suitable to use to obtain information on the cross-linking of FR-EPDM insulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5318
JournalPolymers
Volume14
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Keywords

  • degradation
  • hydrolysis
  • oxidation
  • polymeric insulation
  • time-domain NMR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

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