Insights > Credibility, Competency, Teamwork at the Core of Nuclear Training Programs' Accreditation
Credibility, Competency, Teamwork at the Core of Nuclear Training Programs' Accreditation
This past year, Entergy Nuclear successfully renewed accreditation for operator training programs at Arkansas Nuclear One and Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. Accreditation for maintenance and technical training programs was achieved at Cooper Nuclear Station and Indian Point Energy Center. In addition, Palisades just completed a successful accreditation team visit and will seek the renewal of its operator training programs in March of 2020.
Accreditation is an acceptable means to meet federal regulations for nuclear plant training programs and is the result of actions taken after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. In the early- to mid-80s, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations established an accreditation program for the nuclear industry and required its members to seek accreditation for their operator training programs and for their maintenance and technical programs.
In March 1985, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission endorsed the INPO-managed accreditation program. After a two-year trial period, the NRC concluded, based on evaluations of the accreditation process, that INPO was effective in improving training programs through the accreditation process.
Entergy Nuclear General Manager of Training Gregg Ludlam explains that accreditation is a philosophy and a foundational element in our industry’s operational success.
"The fact that our plants are operated safely is directly linked to the quality of training our operators, technicians and engineers receive. Going through these evaluations ensures training is core business, and since accreditation exceeds federal requirements, it drives training excellence," Ludlam said. " Those stations achieving accreditation renewal in 2019 were unanimous in voting by the independent accrediting board. That says a lot for our programs."
Federal law, known as the Training Rule (10 CFR 50.120 as well as 10 CFR 55 for operator programs), requires the use of the systematic approach to training, known as SAT, for key training programs at nuclear power plants.
SAT is a five-step process comprised of analysis of jobs and tasks, design of a training program based on that analysis, development of the training program once the design is complete, implementation of the training program to job candidates and incumbents, and finally, evaluation of the training program to ensure it is meeting its intent. The five-step process is known by the acronym ADDIE – analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.
“So, one can see the importance of this. It’s not nonsense. Accreditation ensures we are meeting or exceeding federal requirements for nuclear power plant training programs,” Ludlam added.
There are 12 accredited training programs as defined by INPO, split between operator training and maintenance, technical training. For Operations, the six accredited training programs are non-licensed operator, reactor operator, senior reactor operator, shift manager, shift technical advisor and continuing training for licensed personnel. For maintenance, technical training, the six accredited training programs are instrumentation and control technician, electrical maintenance personnel, mechanical maintenance personnel, radiation protection technician, chemistry technician and engineering personnel.
In 2020, ANO’s maintenance, technical training will be reviewed, and Waterford 3 Electric Station operator training program will be evaluated.
What does all this mean for Entergy Nuclear employees? Ludlam said that accreditation is an investment in our teams.
“The robust nature of our programs provides employees with the skills, knowledge and proficiency to operate and maintain our plants with excellence. They know the programs are theirs, and they are partners with training personnel to ensure they meet staff needs,” Ludlam said.