VisSim modelling for the future

Simulation provides insight and saves training time at Surry Power Station.

A state-of-the-art, hands-on training program was developed at Surry Power Station to improve the skills of operators in the use of controller modules that operate steam generator power-operated relief valves. The steam generator controller modules operate automatically or manually to open or close relief valves that allow for safe venting of pressures that build up in the reactor’s three steam generators during shutdown.

“I developed computer-based simulations that allow operators to change controller settings, analyse the effects of the changes, then explore them mathematically,” said Hal Warren, senior instructor-Nuclear Training, Surry Power Station. “This helps them develop a better understanding of the effects generated by each change.”

Warren developed a second simulation that depicts how station equipment responds to certain types of emergency events. “It also explores operation of the atmospheric dump valves in automatic and manual modes, as well as common system failures that can occur and the actions that need to be taken by operators,” he said.

“The simulations can be used at an employee’s workstation or can be projected in a classroom environment to provide a rapid method for understanding complex process controller concepts.” Warren’s simulations were designed on a Pentium PC using VisSim modelling and simulation software. He said the feedback received from trainees indicated an improvement in the assimilation and retention of the training material, and instruction time was reduced from 10 hours to two hours.

“The simulations also provided us with a new method of troubleshooting systems and equipment without impacting station operations,” he added.

For his efforts, Warren was awarded a Training Excellence Award from the American Nuclear Society for achievement, excellence and innovation in nuclear training. The simulations were also recognised by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) during a 1995 plant evaluation.

The Training Center at the Surry VA power station is tasked with providing continuing education for its operating personnel in a formal classroom environment.

VisSim is a visual block-diagram based modelling and simulation applications environment that runs on Windows and UNIX/X platforms. Along with VisSim/Real-Time add-on software, it is an ideal tool for modelling controls and plant functions for the purpose of commissioning new processes and for training operators.

VisSim is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

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