Electrical installations simulator: optimising local operations

How can the personnel in charge of operating and maintaining the electrical installation of a nuclear power plant be kept suitably trained? How can plant safety be maintained? How should one respond to unforeseen circumstances and how can they be prevented?

There is no single answer to these questions, although there is a solution for them all, specifically the training of the personnel in charge of the operation and maintenance of the facility. Tecnatom has opted for the use of a simulator as a training tool, with a view to mitigating the consequences of non-optimum actions and equipment operating and maintenance faults, the primary objective being to improve the understanding and operating skills of the operators of electrical installations.

The electrical installation of a nuclear power plant is a critical system whose mission is to guarantee the safe supply of electricity to a series of consumers. This supply is transmitted via lines, transformers and breakers, with continuity ensured by means of emergency generators and uninterrupted feed systems and protection of the installation guaranteed by fuses and electronic relays and the diagnosis of the facility and its equipment.

The complexity of these installations makes the use of a simulator especially useful, since it allows access to be gained to different zones of the facility and makes it possible to practice manoeuvres that are difficult to perform in the real world, either because of the risks posed by improper actions or because they correspond to infrequent situations. Use of the simulator makes it possible to optimise the safety-related, availability and cost aspects of an electrical installation by:

  • Reducing training costs, since operators may be qualified in a shorter time
  • Minimising operating errors
  • Reducing recovery time in the event of an electrical incident.
Simulator cabin room

The simulator is also useful for simulation-assisted engineering activities, such as for example the validation of operating procedures, the performance of tests prior to operation or  the validation of design modifications, etc.

As regards the scope of the operations, the simulator provides dual training, since it considers:

  • Operations performed from the control room.
  • Operations performed in the field on cabinets, cabins, electrical cells and local panels using a graphic interface with virtual panels (dynamic interactive images).

As regards operating modes, this simulator respond to a  real-time behaviour that fully complies with the electrical laws (Kirchoff, etc.) and that consequently contemplates both normal operation and breakdowns and incidents caused by electrical component faults.

Furthermore, in today’s digital world, Tecnatom’s simulation solutions are also growing and the use of the simulator is being extended to include different scenarios such as virtual reality or connections via the cloud. In this respect, a series of learning pills have been developed that simulate different high and medium voltage cabin models.

Learning pills

These learning pills are based on the logical and mechanical performance of the electrical cabins, developed on the simulator, and on their appearance. They are a learning method developed with a view to dealing in depth with highly specific operations, with priority given to practicality and brevity.

One of the most important contributions made by these pills is the possibility of providing remote training, allowing the trainees to train on cabin operation from any location prior to training on the simulator, acquiring knowledge that will undoubtedly optimise what is taken from the courses on the simulator and their duration.

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