“Engineering team uses gaming tech to train nuclear workers”,

Engineering team tests gaming technology to train nuclear workforce

The nuclear power industry needs to attract and train a new generation of workers to maintain the existing reactors and build new ones. Traditional training methods, such as paper checklists and blueprints, are no longer effective for a generation of people who are used to digital devices and video games. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has therefore investigated how extended reality tools could be deployed at the Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL), the nation’s largest liquid metal test facility. The purpose is to explore how interest in digital devices and video game technology can be leveraged to attract and engage the next generation of nuclear professionals.

The industry needs to develop this talent from a wide pool of trades, community colleges, four-year universities, and the military. By embracing extended reality tools, the industry can break down the silos of information where data resides and bring data to the people who need it. The tools can be used to create digital twins of equipment, provide maintenance and operating procedures, stream live video or take a screenshot of the failing pump, capture diagnostic data, and access information from multiple sources. Moreover, the technology is so good now that a lot of information can be communicated between headsets and an ordinary smartphone, leading to more practical applications for the workforce.

The development of the nuclear workforce with digital twins, artificial intelligence, and integrated big data could result in reduced operating costs, improved safety, and greater employee attraction, satisfaction, and retention. The technology could also be adopted by the advanced manufacturing and facility operations and maintenance sectors.

By deploying extended reality tools for digital operations and maintenance, the nuclear power industry can engage and train the next generation of workers effectively. The industry needs to embrace technology and offer a more engaging workplace to attract and retain a new generation of professionals.