During the further operation of Chernobyl NPP after the Unit 4 accident, it was necessary to improve operational safety of the operating units by all means, including personnel training. The competence of the operations personnel, especially of main control room (MCR) operators, needed to be maintained and possibly improved to prevent recurrence of a similar serious event in future. As one of the most important component of the operator training, full scope simulator training was considered, as it could provide the best understanding of all aspects of unusual transients and practice appropriate recovery actions.
Since no full scope RBMK plant simulator was available at Chernobyl NPP (or elsewhere in Ukraine), the EC found useful to financially support training of Chernobyl MCR operators at the full-scope simulator at the Smolensk training centre in Russia, which had the only operating full-scope RBMK simulator at that time.
This intention well corresponded with the actual needs too, as it was realized that Chernobyl operators had not received simulator training for several previous years. Moreover, the high Chernobyl personnel turnover and considerable loss of personnel was also mentioned as a critical safety issue by the IAEA in 1994.
The general project objectives were to enhance operational safety of the operating Chernobyl NPP units by enhancing professional competence of their main control room operators. The specific objective was to provide refreshment training to all ChNPP Unit 3 MCR crews at the Smolensk Training Centre full scope simulator. This objective had to be achieved using Western methodologies for establishment and performance of MCR operator refreshment training. Transfer of the expertise in the training performance was another objective of the project
The U1.05/93 project started on 01/02/1996 and was planned for 24-month period. The contract 96-0091 was implemented by HGW Ingeniergesellschaft m,b.H., Greifswald, Germany.
The project work was divided in several phases: initiation, definition, preparation, confirmation, implementation, evaluation and conclusion. The Consultant participated in some of them.
In the initiation phase, a 2-day meeting was held at the Smolensk Training Centre (STC) at Desnogorsk, Russia to re-establish contacts between STC and CHNPP staff, to agree on working methods, preliminary content of courses and the schedule, based on the available simulator scenarios. In the meeting, changes at the STC simulator were explained to ChNPP personnel. The Consultant gathered necessary information and prepared himself for the work at STC. The local subcontractor, the Atomtechenergo Company, was hired to operate the simulator and provide training instructors.
In the definition phase, a meeting of training instructors from the ChNPP training department and STC took place at the Chernobyl NPP, where they detailed subjects of the theoretical training and simulator scenarios to be practiced.
The preparation phase took place at the STC. Here, the simulator was prepared for the selected scenarios, the test runs were performed and the training materials for both the classroom and simulator sessions were prepared. The Consultant presented the Western practice in preparation simulator courses of this type and elaborated structure and guidelines for preparing the training materials.
In the confirmation phase, the ChNPP training instructors confirmed with the ChNPP operations management and prospective trainees, that the training programme was in accordance with the initial intent and satisfied the actual MCR personnel needs.
The implementation phase was performed in two stages.
(1) Prior to departure to the STC, Chernobyl Unit 3 MCR shift crews were trained at the ChNPP to be adequately prepared for the simulator sessions. The training took one week per MCR crew, i.e. 7 weeks altogether.
(2) Each Chernobyl Unit 3 MCR shift crew then attended a 10-day refreshment training course at the STC full cope simulator of an RBMK plant. During the first two days, the trainees familiarized themselves with the simulator and the differences against the ChNPP. The familiarization phase was followed by 7 days of intensive training consisting of 2-hour classroom sessions and 4-hour simulator practices. The training was concluded by a 1-day evaluation session. The training courses took 70 days altogether, while the Western Consultant was present on the last three days of the first training course.
The evaluation phase took place at the end of the first training course at the STC, using the Consultant’s presence. It was held to evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of the training course itself. As a result, minor modifications of the training programme and the training materials were proposed and implemented.
The conclusion phase consisted of a meeting at ChNPP with the presence of the ChNPP staff, the Goskomatom, the STC instructor and the Consultant. The participants concluded that the course objective had been fully met and it was proposed to continue similar courses at agreed frequency and duration, in accordance with Ukraine regulatory documents and requirements.
The U2.05/93 project was implemented in accordance with the Terms of Reference and its objectives were fully met.