27 Mars 2016
March 24, 2016
By HIROMI KUMAI/ Staff Writer
The nation's nuclear watchdog showed off its new training facility that simulates the central control room of a nuclear power plant so key staff can respond better to an emergency.
The site, inside a building in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, was completed in February at a cost of 1.58 billion yen ($14.01 million). The Nuclear Regulation Authority showed it off to reporters on March 23.Monitors modeled after instruments and other equipment in the central control room line the entire wall of the training facility. It is also fitted with six sets of terminals that can display changes in conditions of the reactor core and a containment vessel in the event of a nuclear accident.
The central control room, as its name implies, regulates and monitors all operations inside a nuclear power plant.
Three people, including individuals who have headed a nuclear operations team at plants around the country, will serve as instructors.
From April, the start of the new fiscal year, the NRA’s staff members in charge of examining, inspecting and responding to nuclear emergencies will learn how to form the correct judgement in times of crisis at a nuclear plant.
“Although there has been few chances to touch (the real instruments), we can now experience what it is like,” said an official at the facility.
“We want to enhance our staff members’ sense of actually responding to a nuclear accident and equip them with the proper expertise as soon as possible.”
Employees from the Nuclear Regulation Authority Secretariat are seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward on March 23, 2016, training in a nuclear power plant central control room simulator. (Mainichi)
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) unveiled to members of the press on March 23 its nuclear power simulator, which has been newly built within its Human Resource Development Center in Tokyo's Toranomon district to provide training for potential situations of nuclear disaster.
Replicating the functions of a central control room, the simulator is equipped with a touch panel featuring 69 different types of control boards and instruments. It can recreate the conditions occurring when a major disaster takes place at both boiling-water and pressurized-water types of nuclear reactors. Plans are additionally in place to add functions for latest model reactors.
The simulator -- which was completed at the end of February, and cost a total of 1.6 billion yen to construct -- is poised to serve as a useful tool during study sessions organized on behalf of NRA Secretariat employees.
While such employees will not operate nuclear reactor equipment during times of actual disaster, NRA Human Resource Development Center Vice Director Juichiro Ito notes that the simulator "will be effective in terms of conferring the ability to provide guidance during times of emergency."