The increasing number, size, and complexity of nuclear facilities deployed worldwide are increasing the need to maintain readiness and develop innovative sensing materials to monitor important to safety structures (ITS) such as pressure vessels and piping (PVP) in a nuclear reactor. Technologies for the diagnosis and prognosis of PVP systems can improve verification of the health of the structure that can eventually reduce the likelihood of inadvertently failure. Recently investigated piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) open the possibilities to develop and deploy such system. Piezoelectric wafer active sensors are widely used in structural health monitoring (SHM) to determine the presence of cracks, delaminations, disbonds, and corrosion. Durability and survivability of PWAS under environmental exposures has been tested before. However the irradiation effects, pertinent to nuclear facilities for PWAS, have not been studied yet. This paper presents a study on PWAS that exposed to high energy gamma radiation. PWAS were irradiated using a Co-60 gamma source in an irradiator with different exposure times. The dose rate and total absorbed dose were calculated using Monte Carlo simulations (MCNPX). The PWAS material properties, electrical contact change were characterized through a series of tests. The electro-mechanical impedance spectrum (EMIS) of PWAS was measured before and after irradiation. This study not only provides the fundamental understanding of the PWAS irradiation survivability but also tests the potential of PWAS as irradiation sensors for nuclear applications.

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