Could virtual reality revolutionise training in nuclear?

Researchers are developing the VR training to help workers at decommissioning sites prepare for hazard awareness in ‘highly realistic’ situations

New training using virtual reality (VR) technology aims to help boost safety in the nuclear energy industry.

Researchers at the University of Exeter are developing the VR training to help workers at nuclear decommissioning sites prepare for hazard awareness in “highly realistic” situations.

They are creating a device that helps staff to learn how to dress themselves in safety equipment and navigate through hazardous environments – the protective gear used in the nuclear industry such as air-fed suits is expensive and often disposable, therefore VR is expected offer training which is cost efficient.

The research team brings together academics and industry experts with extensive experience in VR simulation, the psychology of learning and a detailed understanding of technical processes in nuclear decommissioning.

Dr Sam Vine from the University of Exeter said: “Training in nuclear environments can be expensive and dangerous. Our training helps trainees to effectively use their safety equipment, which is so important in radioactive environments.

“Virtual reality technology is revolutionising the way training is performed and we are performing extensive research to understand how it is best used to maximum effects on learning. Around the world, accidents in the nuclear and other high-risk industries are often due to the incorrect use of safety equipment. Training people to use their safety equipment properly and to learn the appropriate steps in a safe and controlled environment could prevent accidents and even save lives.”

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