Oconee nuclear station has joined Browns Ferry and Palo Verde in becoming the third US plant operating more than one reference simulator. Like the Alabama and Arizona plants, the South Carolina Duke Energy site has three reactors, in this case 900MWe (gross) PWRs.
The simulator, designed by Mauell Corp, is an exact replica of the plant’s Unit 1 control room.
Site training manager Dean Hubbard, said the second simulator will increase the annual training time for the plant’s licensed operators by as much as 20 percent. It will also make it possible for the site to offer more classes that prepare new licensed operators.?
“Simulators are one of the most valuable tools we have in the training of current and future operators,” Hubbard said. “Nuclear power plants are so reliable that the operators, today, may never experience an equipment failure. The simulator time is the most effective way to prepare them to respond—no matter how unlikely the circumstances.”
The simulator project finished on-schedule and under budget. In fact, it was completed at a cost of roughly half of a comparable simulator replacement. Special care was taken to ensure everything in the room precisely mimics the design and configuration of an actual control room.
?“When training, it’s important for operators to truly feel as if they’re in one of our control rooms. From the button and controller designs to the placement of air vents and printer tables, we wanted every operator on the simulator to believe he’s experiencing a true scenario,” Hubbard said.