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Computer-based Simulators, Training and Virtual Reality Tools

    Group of companies NEOLANT (Russia) develops and implements simulation models based on plant information models as the source of information about architecture, construction and process-related plant configuration that give an opportunity to effectively leverage comprehensive information about the facility for the following purposes:

  • personnel training using digital documentation and computer-based training tools;
  • preliminary practice of complex preventive maintenance activities and decommissioning processes on computer-based simulators and training tools.

Simulations for Safe Fine-Tuning of Technical Operations

Fig. 1. Simulation: dismantling radioactive graphite stack of a nuclear reactor
Fig. 1. Simulation: dismantling radioactive graphite stack of a nuclear reactor

Computer-based simulators of complex technical processes that help analyze fine details of plant processes by visualizing them is a modern tool for ensuring industrial safety.

    Here are some examples, implemented by NEOLANT at companies from nuclear industry:

  • verifying a technology for unmanned dismantling radioactive graphite stack in nuclear reactors;
  • designing a groundwater diversion system reconstruction for industrial nuclear reactor disposal;
  • planning workflows for industrial uranium-graphite reactor disposal: dismantling metal structures and filling free spaces with barrier material.

For instance, verification of the initially suggested graphite stack dismantlement technology on the simulator (Fig. 1), created by NEOLANT experts, uncovered a number of problems and showed that it would be impossible to perform all required activities as planned. NEOLANT experts suggested several changes to the initial technology, the technical process was corrected and simulated on the virtual model, implementation of those corrections ensured practicability of dismantlement tasks.

A simulator serves not only as a technology verification instrument, but also as a training tool. Simulators allow polishing day-to-day work activities in a virtual environment as well as simulating various accident situations and teaching operators how to act under such circumstances.

Emergency Modeling

Fig. 2. Visualization: Radioactive contamination spread simulation around a nuclear power plant
Fig. 2. Visualization: Radioactive contamination spread simulation around a nuclear power plant
Fig. 3. Simulated scenario: failure of a downflow pipe in a nuclear power unit
Fig. 3. Simulated scenario: failure of a downflow pipe in a nuclear power unit

The tasks performed by the simulation can vary significantly: from analyzing particular technologies to simulating actions of regional disaster response teams in case of technogenic emergency.

    An example of simulating large-scale processes is the system for analyzing radioactive contamination spread around a nuclear power plant in case of a reactor failure. NOSTRADAMUS software developed by the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE) is used for modeling the radioactive contamination spread; a visualization tool developed by NEOLANT is used to visualize:

  • Radioactive contamination spread dynamics in the bottom air layer (Fig. 2).
  • Consolidated diagrams and tables with all readings of radiation control sensors, with highlighted location of sensors that registered threshold exceeding.
  • Mobile radiation detection data.
  • Government notification procedure with real-time visualization indicating the time when emergency notifications reached particular government agencies.
  • Zones and routes of evacuation simulated in virtual reality. The model is overlaid with data about functions and resources of different accident response departments, radiation control data and final radiation doses, results of the analysis whether protective measures are necessary, specific contents of such measures.

The analysis of this information provides a general understanding of the situation and empowers management decisions.

This simulator helps to analyze radioactive contamination spread in case of a nuclear power plant disaster, supports decision-making and can be used as a training tool: it enables evacuation personnel to practice emergency response actions. For that purpose, one can select specific accident parameters, the system "pictures" the scenario and trainees create an evacuation plan with measures aimed at minimizing radiation exposure of the local population. The training tool evaluates the correctness and timeliness of user's actions.

The visualization tool developed by NEOLANT is a universal instrument for viewing results of accident situations modeling. It is not only used in evacuation training tools, but also finds successful application in the accident scenario simulator for nuclear power plant equipment.

Virtual Reality: New Type of Beginner's Guide

In many industrial facilities, producing and administrative buildings are distributed with significant distances between them. For instance, NPP site area can account for dozens and hundreds of hectares.

To reach a full comprehension of complex industrial facility operation is a difficult challenge. The degree of understanding territorial arrangement of the facility by personnel influences effectiveness and safety of operation. Industrial plant information modeling and virtual reality developed on the base of 3D plant models make it possible to demonstrate the information in an easy visual form that facilitates learning the information.

Highly-precise and detailed 3D models provide quick and easy obtaining and learning the information about physical location and inner arrangement of facility objects. Process flow charts and specifications of process equipment and engineering systems stored in the plant information model enable users to study processes thoroughly.

Fig. 4. Virtual representation of an NPP facility in cave room
Fig. 4. Virtual representation of an NPP facility in cave room
Fig. 5. Realistic model of NPP observation area
Fig. 5. Realistic model of NPP observation area
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