August 15, 2023
Conference Paper

The ARENA Test Bed – A Versatile Resource for I&C Development and Validation


The Accelerated and Real-time Experimental Nodal Assessment (ARENA) Test Bed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a versatile resource for development and validation of instrumentation and control (I&C) technologies. This capability was created to facilitate in-situ testing of nuclear electrical cables in various simulated operational environments. Using cable trays, a control box, and selected test components, low voltage cables can be staged to experience local adverse environments such as elevated temperature and water immersion. Cable condition can be continuously monitored over time to track the effect of local stresses using nondestructive assessment tools. A heads-up display (ARENA TV) plots key data in real-time for users. The ARENA Test Bed has recently been used to evaluate the potential for spread spectrum time domain reflectometry (SSTDR) to monitor thermal aging of a portion of live cable powering a three-phase motor. The arrangement provided the opportunity to directly compare the performance of the novel online SSTDR method with offline results from the more standard frequency domain reflectometry (FDR) method. The ability of SSTDR and FDR to identify the presence of water in immersed shielded and unshielded cables and to detect ground faults was also assessed. A digital twin is being developed to track and predict FDR signals from a thermally aging conceptual cable region to compare with measured signals from the ARENA physical counterpart. The test bed concept addresses an important need in nuclear I&C monitoring tool development. New tools and techniques can be developed in the test bed and validated versus known methods and physical measurements. Digital twins and machine learning engines can be populated with measured data in a controlled environment that would not be readily available in the actual nuclear power plant. Proposed monitoring strategies can be confirmed for effectiveness through objective evaluation. It is anticipated that the PNNL ARENA Test Bed will be a valuable resource in advancing nuclear plant instrumentation.

Published: August 15, 2023


Glass S.W., M.P. Spencer, M.S. Prowant, A. Sriraman, J. Son, and L.S. Fifield. 2023. The ARENA Test Bed – A Versatile Resource for I&C Development and Validation. In Proceedings of the 13th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control & Human-Machine Interface Technologies (NPIC&HMIT 2023), July 15-20, 2023, Knoxville, TN, 1325-1334. Downers Grove, Illinois:American Nuclear Society. PNNL-SA-182564.