OPERATOR TRAINING

The accident at TMI-2 set in motion action plans for improved operator training in many countries (U. S. Regulatory Commission, 1980). A particular consequence was to recognise that training must be broadened to include more emphasis on operational incidents and accident circumstances. Further training should not just be for operators but training of maintenance and all personnel connected with the plant operation should also be included. Recommended practices are given in Table 3.4.

Training needs to be provided at various levels. It must include new staff but also employees who might be changing jobs through transfer, redeployment or promotion (Leclercq, 1986). It should occupy a reasonable amount of time; e. g. French nuclear power plant workers receive typically 80-90 h training per year.

Present day training includes extensive use of simulators and electronic-aided teaching procedures. These are used to teach the candidates the single component aspects of plant operation, e. g. the chemical and volume control system, control of the reactor and managing the balance of plant function (e. g. the turbine-generator performance).

Table 3.4. Personnel training

Good plant practices and personnel development

Description

Training

Continuous training philosophy, learning and sharing knowledge

Examination

On-the-job and examinable training

Simulators

Specific operator training including simulators and other relevant plant operations factors

Quality

Training quality improvement taking advantage of different tools available

Improvement of human factors training

Training materials for plant personnel working in multiple areas

Expansion of training

More in-depth training of radiation workers to improve contamination control

Performance improvement

Individual training records to be kept by each operator

Management

Accountability of line management with support from training organisations

Full scope simulators provide an exact replica of the control room and enable a complete simulation of plant behaviour. The candidate can, therefore, be subjected to all forms of plant condition from start-up, shutdown and response to faults.

The training of maintenance staff is equally as important as the training of operators. Their training involves acquisition of the necessary technical expertise but also they need to learn the organisational and communication skills to manage a large workforce. They must acquire the necessary skills to work and be compliant with the various safety instructions and other working conditions, including working under the pressure of meeting challenging delivery deadlines.

The training of power plant personnel has been addressed by the IAEA. A guidebook was published which was concerned with the training to establish and maintain qualified and competent operations’ personnel for plant operation. The guidebook has been subsequently updated in 1996 (IAEA, 1996) and the latest version includes worldwide experience that has been gained since earlier publication.

IAEA recommendations are that there should be a systematic approach to training for nuclear power plant personnel. The approach should not only cover the operators but should cover the role and responsibilities of management including the training of management. The approach should include the evaluation of training methods and look for ways of making training more effective. It should also cover the organisations involved in providing the training.

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