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A simulator-based nuclear reactor emergency response training exercise

Edward Waller, PhD, George Bereznai, PhD, John Shaw, BSc, Joseph Chaput, MASc, Jean-Francois Lafortune, PhD


Training offsite emergency response personnel basic awareness of onsite control room operations during nuclear power plant emergency conditions was the primary objective of a week-long workshop conducted on a CANDU® virtual nuclear reactor simulator available at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada. The workshop was designed to examine both normal and abnormal reactor operating conditions, and to observe the conditions in the control room that may have impact on the subsequent offsite emergency response. The workshop was attended by participants from a number of countries encompassing diverse job functions related to nuclear emergency response. Objectives of the workshop were to provide opportunities for participants to act in the roles of control room personnel under different reactor operating scenarios, providing a unique experience for participants to interact with the simulator in realtime, and providing increased awareness of control room operations during accident conditions. The ability to “pause” the simulator during exercises allowed the instructors to evaluate and critique the performance of participants, and to provide context with respect to potential offsite emergency actions. Feedback from the participants highlighted (i) advantages of observing and participating “hands-on” with operational exercises, (ii) their general unfamiliarity with control room operational procedures and arrangements prior to the workshop, (iii) awareness of the vast quantity of detailed control room procedures for both normal and transient conditions, and (iv) appreciation of the increased workload for the operators in the control room during a transient from normal operations. Based upon participant feedback, it was determined that the objectives of the training had been met, and that future workshops should be conducted.


emergency preparedness, response, accident, nuclear power plant, training, simulation, virtual, full-scope, onsite, offsite

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