Virtual Engineering Centre enables £20million Sellafield savings
22 Oct 2019
Liverpool University’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), has developed a training tool for Britain’s biggest nuclear waste site to ensure worker safety in hazardous areas and savings estimated at £20 million.
Sellafield approached the for help using virtual reality to train and protect specialist operators of its new nuclear waste removal crane at its Pile Fuel Cladding Silo.
As the building was designed 70 years ago to be permanently sealed, accessing and retrieving waste presented serious challenges.
At the VEC innovation centre at Sci Tech Daresbury staff employed Sellafield 3D design models to create a simulator of the silo and crane with replicas of the crane’s operator chair, control joystick and spatial working environment.
Sellafield’s operators were able to learn to work the retrieval crane in a safe environment, before the full-scale training environment was available, ensuring greater levels of safety whilst increasing productivity, by building operator confidence quickly and reducing the overall project delivery schedule.
Now Sellafield has opted to adopt the simulator as its primary training tool. This has allowed it to re-purpose the full-scale training rig it had originally planned to use as a second retrieval system – at a saving of an estimated £20 million on future waste retrieval.
The collaboration was recently highly commended in the Safety in Innovation category at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Safety and Wellbeing Awards.
Lynn Dwyer, head of commercial for the VEC, said: “It was a pleasure to work with the Sellafield team to produce a cutting-edge training solution that has reaped huge cost and productivity savings.”