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Training milestones for new plant operators
2018-5-4

A third training class of nuclear operators for Vogtle units 3 and 4 have passed their US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) initial licensing exam. Fifty-six licensed operators are now available for the units, where construction milestones continue to be met. Employees of the United Arab Emirates' nuclear regulator have also completed a reactor operator training programme.

Vogtle_3_March_2018_(Georgia_Power)-460
Vogtle 3's containment, pictured in March 2018 (Image: Georgia Power)

Once online, the two AP1000 reactors, under construction near Waynesboro, Georgia, will need 75 licensed nuclear operators. Training, licensing and qualifying operators, which takes several years, is a major step in demonstrating to the NRC that plant operator Southern Nuclear is prepared to commence start-up activities of and operate the units once construction is complete.

"Having licensed, qualified operators in place prior to nuclear fuel loading and plant start up helps ensure that the new units can be placed in service as quickly and safely as possible to deliver power for 500,000 homes and businesses," Georgia Power said yesterday.

Additional licensing training is under way, the company said. Georgia Power earlier this year announced it had hired 14 operators for Vogtle 3 and 4 who had passed the NRC exam at the now-abandoned VC Summer nuclear project.

The nuclear operators are employed by Southern Nuclear, the nuclear operating subsidiary which operates the existing units at plants Vogtle and Hatch and is now project manager at the Vogtle construction site.

Recent construction milestones for Vogtle include the placement of the passive residual heat removal heat exchanger inside unit 3's containment vessel, a key feature of the AP1000 reactor's passive core cooling system, and installation of the CA55 module, the first roof module for the in-containment refuelling water storage tank.

The units are scheduled to enter service by November 2021 for Vogtle 3 and November 2022 for Vogtle 4.

UAE regulators complete certification


Three employees of the United Arab Emirates' Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) have completed a 15-week Management Senior Reactor Operator Certification training programme.

The training programme, in cooperation with Westinghouse Electric Company, is designed to allow nuclear industry employees to gain a level of knowledge on integrated control room operations similar to a Senior Reactor Operator supervising operations in the control room of a nuclear power plant. The programme will equip FANR's staff with competencies needed in technical decision-making for operating reactors.

"Building national capacity in the nuclear sector is a cornerstone in FANR's strategy," said Shaima Al Mansoori, Director of Education and Training. "The intensive training programme is another milestone to FANR's efforts to ensure the sustainability of the UAE Nuclear Energy Programme. It will help ensure we have the qualified experts who will play an indispensable role in the programme".

The UAE's first nuclear reactor, Barakah unit 1, is now officially complete and waiting to receive an operating licence from the FANR before fuel loading can commence and operations begin.

  
 
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