On June 29, Quad Cities Station cut the ribbon on a $7 million expansion of its Professional Learning Center. The expansion almost doubled the size of the PLC, allowing for the use of more 21st Century learning tools to provide a more modern and state-of-the art training environment for the station's current and future workforce. Those tools include distance learning classrooms, virtual reality (VR), 3-D printing and other innovations.
"VR and 3-D printing will be used to hone plant workers' skills," Training Director Ed Pannell said. "VR will allow workers to experience plant conditions/tasks without leaving the classroom, giving students experiences without the dose or safety concerns."
Ed added that "3D printers will be able to duplicate nearly any physical object or piece of equipment/tool as a physical component that students can handle and disassemble. This will allow workers to have the ability to tie text knowledge to materials they can manipulate, such as when overhauling a pump or seeing valve internals."
If you missed the PLC ribbon cutting, check out the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce's video highlights of the event here.
In addition to the new, innovative tools in training, drones are also now being utilized at Quad Cities Station in a variety of ways, from inside the plant to in the surrounding wilderness. Dustin Hess, IT Technical Analyst, recently obtained a FAA Part 107 Drone Pilot's License and has been putting it to great use.
Here's how Engineer Bryce Matsuo summarized the use of a drone for the recent 2D2 Feedwater Heater steam leak:
In May 2018, a steam leak was identified on the 2D2 Feedwater Heater coming from the upper continuous vent restricting orifice (IR 04140438). An Operational Decision Maker (ODM) was prepared, and the repair will not be performed prior to the Summer Reliability Period. As a Bridging Strategy, we would monitor available parameters to continually assess the severity of the steam leak, and determine the appropriate time to perform the repairs after the Summer Reliability Period. The steam leak is located high in the 'D' Heater Bay vaults, and is not impacting any surrounding equipment or cables trays.
In addition, Quad Cities Station utilized the Elios and Mavic Small Unmanned Arial System (sUAS) to perform an inspection of the steam leak. Although the inspection was aborted due to the sUAS getting caught in the steam path, the flight provided additional experience and insights of using a drone to perform future inspections throughout the plant. The drone pilot received less than 3 mrem during the flight, as opposed to the 50-100 mrem an individual performing a visual inspection might have received. This demonstrates Quad Cities' commitment to innovation and the acceptance that every 0.1 millirem counts.
With both examples related to the 2D2 Feedwater Heater steam leak, Quad Cities Station demonstrated all aspects of "STRONG."