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Instrument Air Quality

in Nuclear Power Production and Pneumatic Instrument Use

Nuclear Power Production

In order to ensure safety and improve nuclear power plants’ efficient production of electricity, instrument air systems require regulation, improvement, and monitoring.

The standard for instrument air quality in the nuclear setting is the Institute of Nuclear Power Operation’s SOER 88-1 (Instrument Air Systems Failures). The standard stresses the importance of clean dry air (CDA) and combines limits from ISA-7.0.01-1996 and analytical methods from ISO 8573 to create a comprehensive standard that addresses an air system’s potential for contamination. Air that is not clean and dry can have a devastating effect on pneumatic controllers and pneumatic instruments, the performance of which is critical to a plant’s operation.

Industry-Wide Standards

The quality standard for instrument air is ANSI/ISA-S7.0.01-1996. ANSI/ISA-S7.0.01-1996 addresses 4 elements of instrument air quality: dew point, particle size, lubricant, and contaminants. The compression process dramatically increases condensation and contaminants in the air once it is compressed. Learn more about Compressor Contamination here.

Compressed gas contaminants while possibly harmless prior to compression, can have devastating results once they have been compressed. The instrument air quality standard lists the following items to help monitor these elements of concern: Monitored alarms or per shift monitoring for dew point control and filters for particle control. Automatic oilers are discouraged due to the potential for fire and scrubbers or absorbers are suggestions provided, and proper intake placement is suggested for corrosive and gas contaminants. Particulate contaminants can be introduced by any number of sources including the intake or the compressor itself. Desiccant dryers while very helpful and necessary, create particle dust that is often overlooked. Particulate contaminants can clog and corrode orifices in the system. So, how do you determine if you need to make any of these adjustments or determine if your proactive measures are working? It’s simple – conduct regular instrument air quality standard testing.

Easy Sampling and Testing

The AirCheck™ Kit provides an easy solution to satisfying ANSI/ISA, ISO 8573, and SOER requirements. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you maintain compliance with the standards and specifications so that you can deliver safe, clean air at the highest quality standards.

Trace Analytics’ A2LA-Accredited Laboratory specializes in compressed air and gas testing, and our experts have participated in educational endeavors to improve pneumatic tools and instrument air quality safety by attending and speaking at the Air-Operated Valve Users’ Group (AOVUS Group) Conference and Compressed Air Nuclear Users Group (CANUG) Meetings.