LaSalle nuclear plant using virtual-reality tech to facilitate refueling-period tasks

LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station
LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station | Courtesy of the NRC

Exelon Corp. said LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station workers are utilizing virtual-reality technology to help with refueling and maintenance work during this week's scheduled refueling outage on Unit 1.

The Unit 1 team is using a virtual-reality camera that captures high-definition footage in the plant, near Ottawa, Illinois, with 360-degree views of machinery and equipment. The company said this is the first time such technology has been used at this plant.

“We strive to perform every task flawlessly at our nuclear station,” LaSalle Station Plant Manager Harold Vinyard said. “This technology will help us train our workers, prevent human error and reduce radiation exposure.”

With this technology in place, the team can remotely monitor areas that need work within the plant. Exelon said that traditionally, nuclear operators relied on diagrams, photos and illustrations in preparation for outage and other plant work.

During the outage, approximately 14,000 refurbishment and maintenance activities will be completed by the plant’s 800 full-time staffers and approximately 1,400 supplemental contractors.

The plant houses two nuclear reactors that are taken offline for refueling and maintenance on two-year rotations. Unit 2 at the facility will remain in operation while work at Unit 1 is underway.

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