Comprehensive Assessments Operations Training Performance Improvement

CORE™ Interactive Fundamentals Training – The Future for Nuclear Operator Fundamentals

For 30 plus years the commercial nuclear industry has conducted general operator fundamentals training the same way.

The method of nuclear training I am referring to usually precedes Licensed Operator Systems training at commercial nuclear plants and looks something like this:

Step 1: Put 1 or 2 Operations instructors on generic fundamentals, more commonly referred to in the industry as GFES, and update the fundamentals training material and lessons. Or alternatively if your station is short staffed, hire an experienced SRO contractor to teach your nuclear fundamentals program.

Step 2: Put all of your new hires in the classroom for the next 12 weeks to complete the program.

Step 3: Conduct the GFE (Generic Fundamentals Examination) for all the students that are still allowed to continue in the program based on their in-class test scores and overall progress through the previous 12 weeks.

If you aren’t familiar with GFE (sometimes referred to as GFES), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines it per their nuclear power GFE publication which reads:

A Generic Fundamentals Examination (GFE) consists of 50 multiple-choice test items that examine applicant knowledge in three broad categories of nuclear power plant fundamentals: Components, Reactor Theory, and Thermodynamics. Each category contains several major topics, with multiple subtopics, or knowledges. Applicants must successfully pass the GFE with a score of 80 percent before they are eligible to take a facility-specific examination that if also successfully passed may lead to an NRC reactor operator license.

The GFE web site provides access to all test items that have appeared on a GFE and all GFEs that have been administered since January 2001.

Description of GFE Question Banks. The GFE question banks are a collection of test items used on the pressurized water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR) GFEs administered since the inception of the GFE program in September 1988. The GFE web site provides access to both GFE question banks (PWR and BWR). You can choose to view or download questions for an individual topic, category, or an entire GFE question bank for each reactor type.

In addition to a question and answer, each test item in a GFE question bank contains a reference to the associated topic and subtopic or knowledge from the Knowledge and Abilities Catalog for Nuclear Power Plant Operators: PWR ( NUREG-1122) or the Knowledge and Abilities Catalog for Nuclear Power Plant Operators: BWR (NUREG-1123). Importance ratings are also included (e.g., [2.7/2.9]) to indicate the relative importance of the knowledge to an RO or SRO.

Finally, each test item has a unique question identification (QID) number that allows distinction between test items having a common topic and knowledge. The QID number for a test item will begin with either the letter “B” (for BWR) or “P” (for PWR). When two QID numbers are given for a single test item, that test item appears in both the BWR and PWR question banks.

All test items contained in the GFE question banks have undergone both technical and psychometric review and validation. Test developers, reviewers, psychometricians, and NRC subject matter experts review each item for technical accuracy, soundness, and integrity before administering the examination. Finally, after each examination has been administered, industry personnel and test takers have the opportunity to review the examination test items and submit comments to the NRC. The NRC reviews and resolves all comments before the final examination grades are issued. Only those test items that have successfully passed these multiple levels of review and intense scrutiny are entered into the GFE question banks. The GFE question banks will continue to increase in size after administration of each examination.

Potential Uses for GFE Question Banks . The GFE question banks have many potential uses. The GFE question banks allow applicants intending to take the examination the opportunity to review test items to prepare for the examinations. Such reviews can play a key role in helping applicants learn the safety significant content to be mastered for the examination.

The GFE question banks may also be used for educational and training purposes. Training organizations, for example, may use the banks for developing trial or practice examinations, assessing individual or program strengths and weaknesses, or identifying training needs for other groups.

CORE nuclear power

Here’s the good news.

Accelerant Solutions has opted to create a substitute to the current way Operator Fundamentals Training is done.

And we’ve called it CORE: Interactive Fundamentals Training.

Recently we conducted a live webinar on CORE you can watch if you like to learn more about the product. On the webinar page you will also find an orange button that links to the entire live webinar which was about 33 minutes in length. There are chapters can be clicked on to skip ahead if you’re only interested in pieces of the webinar such as the demo, business case, offer, etc. We understand how busy your life likely is at a utility and want to make viewing the content as convenient as possible.

Some of the benefits you’re going to see in the webinar regarding CORE include:

CORE benefit #1: You can conduct GFE as a self-paced program and lower the time it takes an operator to complete fundamentals training.

CORE benefit #2: The savings in using CORE align with the Delivering The Nuclear Promise (DNP) initiative to cut costs by 30%. We will show you in the webinar how this is accomplished.

CORE benefit #3: You end up with smarter, happier, more efficient operators at your station which leads to an improvement in nuclear safety. Priceless in our opinion.

So rather than continue to march down the same path of conducting generic operators fundamentals training and incur unnecessary costs at your utility, go ahead and click the button below to view the CORE webinar now. NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – VIEW CORE BY CLICKING HERE!

Did you enjoy this article? Here are a couple other articles you may like to read:

Click the link to learn about improving the quality of comprehensive assessments in nuclear training.

Click the link to learn what makes a great nuclear training organization.

GFES Alternative


Jason Smith

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