Ion Chromatography Determines Polyacrylic Acid in Pressurized Water Reactor Secondary Feed Water

October 31, 2013 - Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a simple and economical size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) analysis method that enables nuclear power plants (NPPs) with pressurized water reactors to determine low concentrations of polyacrylic acid (PAA) in secondary feed water containing ethanolamine (ETA) and hydrazine. Application Note 1058: Determination of Polyacrylic Acid in Nuclear Power Plant Pressurized Water Reactor Secondary Feed Waterdemonstrates that a SEC column separation with detection at 200 nm can determine PAA with a method detection limit of 2.6 μg/L. This method uses water as the eluent to maximize sensitivity and eliminate the need for eluent preparation.

To maximize plant output and reduce costly corrosion-related failures, many NPP operators add corrosion inhibitors such PAA, ETA, and hydrazine to their steam generator water. These operators need a way of accurately measuring PAA to ensure that the added amount is within the plant’s administrative limits. To separate PAA from small molecules present in the secondary feed water, SEC is generally considered the most effective method.

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