Spring refueling outage at Exelon plant
Operators powered down La Salle Generating Station Unit 1, rural Marseilles, early Monday to begin the nuclear power plant’s spring refueling outage, but this year will be different for the hundreds of employees and outage workers tasked with refueling and performing maintenance on the plant while it’s offline.
Station employees have spent the last few months mapping every inch of the plant using 360-degree cameras to create virtual tours of the plant, according to an Exelon press release.
These tours are coupled with portal technology to provide live video, temperature, and up-to-date radiation dose information throughout the plant. This technology reduces work time inside the plant, limiting radiological exposure to record low levels. It also is the first step in creating a true virtual reality simulation of the plant that will improve employee training and other areas.
The Digital Plant Viewer, developed by Exelon Generation’s innovation group, is a web-based mapping interface that accesses radiological surveys, live video feeds, and 360-degree images. While nuclear plant employees use a vast array of mapping, telemetry, and other data systems to run the plant daily, Digital Plant Viewer pulls the technological systems together in one place for the first time.
During the refueling outage, workers will perform approximately 14,500 maintenance and refurbishment activities that cannot be performed while the unit is operating. The work tasks are designed to enhance the unit’s ability to provide electricity. The new tool will help improve planning for maintenance tasks, briefing work teams, and in-field execution, resulting in greater efficiency and accuracy.
“This technology will help our people to work safer and smarter, because they can get more data and information about their tasks before they even enter the plant,” said La Salle Station Site Vice President Bill Trafton in a press statement.
Digital Plant Viewer is one of many innovations in use across Exelon Generation. To date, innovations and new technology solutions have generated more than $160 million in operational efficiencies.