How Licensed Nuclear Operators Are Getting Licensed Today Using Distance Learning
In Spain, licensed nuclear operator training is conducted a bit differently than it is here in the states.
One reason for this is due to the fact that all all training conducted in the seven Spanish nuclear utilities is carried out by a company called Tecnatom..
Tecnatom runs the training centers located in the nuclear power plants and also two more located in Madrid and Tarragona with Full Scope Simulators. This way, Tecnatom is able to optimize resources and significantly reduce training costs.
Additionally, Tecnatom reduces the time required to train a fully licensed operator by 30% when compared to United States nuclear utilites.
Don’t believe me? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
In fact, you might be asking, “How in the world are they able to do this?”
One word will describe the “how:” Technology.
And the amazing thing about their innovative methods for conducting training is that they were already essentially COVID-19 pandemic-proof when it came to their accredited training programs; something we can learn from them and even use here in the states which is in part what this article dives into.
Current State of Nuclear Power Plants in Spain
At a time when many industries have come to a standstill due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear power plants continue to operate at 100% power and are an essential service for supplying electricity to hospitals, supermarkets and all households where most of the population has been confined for several weeks.
In Spain, the number of personnel physically working at the plant has been reduced by approximately 75%, leaving only the personnel required to carry out essential activities.
Those activities that can be carried out remotely will have to continue, among other things, to avoid a backlog of pending activities when the situation improves.
Training is one of them.
In Spain, most power plants had already undertaken some online training, especially for access courses, or basic training, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that led to its implementation in all training courses, especially in licensing courses.
Most Implemented Nuclear Power Distance Learning Method
The most implemented method for distance training is videoconferencing, where the instructor connects in real time with students and shares different training resources. This way, the instructor can also answer questions immediately, just as he or she would in a face-to-face class.
Tecnatom, an Accelerant partner, has several tools that can contribute much value to this type of training. The Face to Face (F2F) Distance Class tool consists on a video calling software with an additional Moodle module which includes:
- On-line Q/A to help Instructor to ensure objectives achievement for the students.
- Instructor Tutorial.
- Based on INPO ACAD to Help Instructors how to teach in the new setting (Distance Class)
- Technical tutorial to help Instructors how to operate the “F2F Distance Class”
- Compliance: Records of the implementation will be automatically obtained and ready to be fed into the Nuclear Power Plant Systems (LMS, VISION, etc.)
- Identification and detection of student’s attention
- Proctoring for weekly quizzes
This tool has been widely accepted by the Spanish plants where training is carried out normally, except for simulator training.
Instructors have been trained on how to deliver nuclear training using this tool, and the results are positive. The main keys for success are:
- Make the session dynamic with activities, materials, videos. Avoid long periods of talking and ask questions often. Remember that an average person attention span is no more than 15 minutes
- Intelligent interface. Not only you can share documents on your screen, but also interact with them while the students follow you.
- Keep control of your time and the time for students’ interventions.
- At the end of the session, make a brief summary with the main idea and conclusions recalling what was learned.
This method has provided several advantages including flexibility.
Most sessions can be recorded, so students can view the video later for clarification or in the event that they were unable to attend the session.
In addition, in cases where the training involved the student’s travel, these costs have been eliminated.
How PLANTTM is Changing Distance Learning
If there is one tool that has revolutionized distance learning, that is PLANTTM.
PLANTTM combines all your training content in one unique platform that launches students’ learning by interacting and exploring.
The core of PLANTTM is the interactive diagrams developed to create one digital, interactive and easy to use visual aid that contains as much information as possible. PLANTTM employs a “warehouse” that acts as a centralized knowledge management database for various forms of digital content.
PLANTTM also makes it easy for the instructor to present by interacting with the material and facilitating student understanding of the subject.
Nuclear training has made a leap in innovation and given the benefits obtained, these methods can continue being implemented in the future.
Some people may wonder whether these methodologies and tools meet industry standards. The answer is yes. The tools were designed by Operations instructors. SAT (Systematic Approach to Training) methodology was taken into account so that all the industry standards are met.
Given the challenges facing the nuclear industry both at home and abroad, PLANTTM continues to provide proven distance learning methodologies capable of producing highly skilled licensed operators.
As distance learning continues in high demand, Accelerant proudly partners with Tecnatom to bring these solutions to the United States.
Contact us for more information today and learn how to implement distance learning methodologies in your accredited nuclear training programs.