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Technology Factsheet

Virtual Environments

Category: Worker Health & Safety > Engineering Controls > Training Tool
Reference # : Model No :

Recognizing the benefits of using virtual environments by utilizing computer gaming industry technology, Alpha Plants Decommissioning sought to exploit this technology during the 2011/12 financial year. A common understanding of facility layout is essential when undertaking work such as option selection, innovation, planning, optimizing and training exercises. The ideal situation would be to perform all of these actions during or following a walk round of the facility in question but, in this case, it would have been both hazardous and impractical to do so due to the radiological conditions within the area. Photographs, sketches and drawings do not always convey the required detail and may cause confusion amongst the audience when trying to explain how one viewpoint relates to another. Alpha Decommissioning therefore contracted Furness Engineering and Technology Ltd (FETL) to create a 3D interactive ‘walk through’ model of a contaminated area which is only accessible by trained operators wearing specialized personal protective equipment (PPE). The Operations Team provided as-built drawings, measurement data and recent photos to enable the model to be scaled and rendered to produce a visually and dimensionally accurate virtual replica. The resulting virtual model now gives anyone the opportunity to explore/ navigate the facility risk free and without having to dress in special PPE. An engineer or manager, together with their audience, can take a virtual tour at any time, and can become familiar with a facility without ever having to physically go there. So far, the model has been used in pre-job briefings, initial familiarization training for new personnel and in discussions with outside contractors.

Benefits

Virtual familiarization with hazardous or contaminated areas for training purposes.

Limitations

This technology is still in development and it is not commercially available yet.

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