Where to find detailed control panel pictures of nuclear plants?

In summary: The industry spends many millions of dollars to train operators. Candidates spend 3-6 years learning before taking their exam. An alternative is to work for a company that makes the simulator software or controls the nuclear plant in a simulated environment.
  • #1
AlexanderReed
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Hello,

I would like to know where I can find detailed control panels pictures of nuclear plants. Not necessarily the complete control room but the main panels. I need to be able to read switches, alarms lights, etc...

Have a nice day!

Thanks
 
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  • #2
Welcome to PF. :smile:

That an unusual question. What is this for?
 
  • #3
I want to make a video game which you have to drive a nuclear plant and face problems, but with a minimal simulation and consistency
 
  • #5
Thanks I contacted him, but I think that unfortunately, he is no longer active on the forums. Since he hasn't posted since several months
 
  • #6
AlexanderReed said:
Thanks I contacted him, but I think that unfortunately, he is no longer active on the forums. Since he hasn't posted since several months
That's unfortunate.

It used to be that almost all information about public utilities was publicly available. But after 9/1/2001, it was suggested that detailed info about the power grid or its components, could be use to plan terrorist attacks. Since then, it has been very difficult.

Try contacting the simulator training centers or the nuclear plant visitor centers. They might allow you to photograph the simulator (or refer you to existing photos). That is how the producers of "The China Syndrome" got access.

Here's a picture from June 1968. That was the first simulator I worked on. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get much useful info from that photo.

1659621629068.png
 
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  • #7
anorlunda said:
That's unfortunate.

It used to be that almost all information about public utilities was publicly available. But after 9/1/2001, it was suggested that detailed info about the power grid or its components, could be use to plan terrorist attacks. Since then, it has been very difficult.

Try contacting the simulator training centers or the nuclear plant visitor centers. They might allow you to photograph the simulator (or refer you to existing photos). That is how the producers of "The China Syndrome" got access.

Here's a picture from June 1968. That was the first simulator I worked on. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get much useful info from that photo.

View attachment 305345

So if I correctly understand, there is no way to get legal picture on the internet?
 
  • #8
AlexanderReed said:
So if I correctly understand, there is no way to get legal picture on the internet?
I dunno, I did a Google Images search on nuclear reactor control room and got some pretty good images. You can look through them to see if any get close enough to give you what you need...

1659622949050.png
 
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  • #9
Unfortunately, I didn't found anything with enough resolution/readability to be exploitable. I need to be able to read the switches label to understand how it works "in the main lines".
 
  • #10
Even with these close-ups, it can be hard to get all the details needed. The second picture is more helpful, but even there important questions can't be answered from the photo alone.

1659625145227.png

1659625289656.png

1659625753167.png


Even a simple pushbutton might be momentary, or maintained, or multiple pushes for multiple functions.

Even an old-fashioned SB1 switch might have 2 positions, or more than 2, and sometimes you can pull up on the handle instead of turning it to perform yet another function. Photos aren't sufficient.

1659625955550.png
 
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  • #11
Do you have Netflix? You can watch re-creations of the accidents/control rooms at TMI and Chernobyl.
 
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  • #12
anorlunda said:
Even with these close-ups, it can be hard to get all the details needed. The second picture is more helpful, but even there important questions can't be answered from the photo alone.

View attachment 305352
View attachment 305354
View attachment 305355

Even a simple pushbutton might be momentary, or maintained, or multiple pushes for multiple functions.

Even an old-fashioned SB1 switch might have 2 positions, or more than 2, and sometimes you can pull up on the handle instead of turning it to perform yet another function. Photos aren't sufficient.

View attachment 305356

Thanks for your reply.

Indeed, hi-res pictures are not sufficient without a certain "back-end" context. The best thing could help me would be something like: "nuclear-plant-driving-operator-manual.pdf"

russ_watters said:
Do you have Netflix? You can watch re-creations of the accidents/control rooms at TMI and Chernobyl.

I haven't but I don't think the panels details are readable...
 
  • #13
AlexanderReed said:
Indeed, hi-res pictures are not sufficient without a certain "back-end" context. The best thing could help me would be something like: "nuclear-plant-driving-operator-manual.pdf"
You got it now. Such manuals do not exist, and if they did they would cover only one plant.

The industry spends many millions of dollars to train operators. Candidates spend 3-6 years learning before taking their exam. An alternative is to work for a company that makes the simulators.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=nuclear+power+plant+training+simulators&ia=web
 
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  • #14
anorlunda said:
You got it now. Such manuals do not exist, and if they did they would cover only one plant.

The industry spends many millions of dollars to train operators. Candidates spend 3-6 years learning before taking their exam. An alternative is to work for a company that makes the simulators.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=nuclear+power+plant+training+simulators&ia=web

I will contact a simulation company and ask if they are able to give me some content
 
  • #15
I just spent half an hour playing with the simulator at the University of Manchester. Even though I used to be a nuclear power plant operator, I found it very difficult to play even though it has the most rudimentary displays and controls. I think there's a reason it takes more than one person to run these things. I have a feeling that filling a game with an actual full set of controls and display meters would virtually impossible to play. Unless of course everything is in steady state, which would make it quite possibly the most boring game in the world.

ps. My top score acheived on my third try was 736 points!
 
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  • #16
OmCheeto said:
I just spent half an hour playing with the simulator at the University of Manchester. Even though I used to be a nuclear power plant operator, I found it very difficult to play even though it has the most rudimentary displays and controls. I think there's a reason it takes more than one person to run these things. I have a feeling that filling a game with an actual full set of controls and display meters would virtually impossible to play. Unless of course everything is in steady state, which would make it quite possibly the most boring game in the world.

ps. My top score acheived on my third try was 736 points!
I know the "simulator" which you gave the link. But it is obviously too simple.

The game that I want to made will not be a full simulation, but only the main systems will be represented (not modeled).
 
  • #17
anorlunda said:
It used to be that almost all information about public utilities was publicly available. But after 9/1/2001, it was suggested that detailed info about the power grid or its components, could be use to plan terrorist attacks. Since then, it has been very difficult.
Yes, it used to be the case that one could find plant elevation drawings and detailed schematics of plant control and electrical circuits. I don't know about control rooms, but I don't believe the details or map of the boards were ever available. Now all that information is restricted under Safeguards, since before 9/11/2001. It goes back to a plan that someone (al Qaeda affiliate) wanted to bomb or otherwise sabotage a nuclear plant. It certainly got more restricted after 9/11/2001.

Corrected date in Sep 2001.
 
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  • #18
AlexanderReed said:
I want to make a video game which you have to drive a nuclear plant and face problems, but with a minimal simulation and consistency
Astronuc said:
Now all that information is restricted under Safeguards, since before 9/1/2001.
So @AlexanderReed -- It sounds like you can just use your imagination now to fill in the details, since nobody is going to know any better (and the people who do know better are not allowed to comment publicly about anything that doesn't match the reality).

Start with the images you found via the Google Images search to get the overall tone of the control room close, and then make up the displays and controls to suit your game. You can make it a mix of mostly color LCD displays with touchscreens and soft buttons around the edges, plus a few manual over-ride type controls for use in case the LCD displays/controls go down.

Oh, and don't forget the big red SCRAM! button... :wink:

1659650852810.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scram
 
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  • #19
Anyone know how to do an 'Ignore' for nuclear reactor threads, vs just 'Ignore' someone?

This is giving me flashbacks from the time I stopped the reactor from melting down one day...

What would have happened if I'd fainted, because, O.M.G. 'THIS IS A MELTDOWN EVENT!'

 
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  • #20
OmCheeto said:
Anyone know how to do an 'Ignore' for nuclear reactor threads, vs just 'Ignore' someone?

This is giving me flashbacks from the time I stopped the reactor from melting down one day...
We have a new PF checkbox for "Ignore Trigger Thread Subjects", but we are still adding radio buttons for different triggers. I'll add nuclear reactor accidents to the button list. Beta testing should start soon...
 
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  • #21
Is there something special about September 1, 2001, or is this a confluence of 3 independent typos and I'm just a big ol' jerk?

anorlunda said:
It used to be that almost all information about public utilities was publicly available. But after 9/1/2001, it was suggested that detailed info about the power grid or its components, could be use to plan terrorist attacks.

Astronuc said:
Now all that information is restricted under Safeguards, since before 9/1/2001. It goes back to a plan that someone (al Quaeda affiliate) wanted to bomb or otherwise sabotage a nuclear plant. It certainly got more restricted after 9/1/2001.
 
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  • #22
DaveC426913 said:
Is there something special about September 1, 2001, or is this a confluence of 3 independent typos and I'm just a big ol' jerk?
It should be September 11, 2001, of course.
 
  • #23
I'm guessing 9/11/2001. Smack your head now.
 
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  • #24
hutchphd said:
I'm guessing 9/11/2001. Smack your head now.
Yeah no. I assumed that the first time, but the second time I began to question my assumption.

Started wondering about some sort of ISO 9000 standards (or security equivalent) that might have dropped that day.
 
  • #25
I always think it was 2000, truth be told
 
  • #26
Yeah 9/11 Check that off as one of my many senior moments today.

Edit: The sadder part of the change is that the data for the grid's network used to be open. The lat/long/connectivity/impedances of every transmission line and distribution line used to be public. Any researcher, any student could access that data for any purpose. Now it is national security related, and Internet pundits are not able to use accurate facts when talking about the grid. So they
make up fake data because we give them no other choice.
 
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  • #27
anorlunda said:
Edit: The sadder part of the change is that the data for the grid's network used to be open.
Same with the natural gas line infrastructure. Here in the East Bay Area in Northern California (where we have lots of earthquake faults and infrasture like water mains and gas lines crossing them), folks used to be able to find natural gas main line maps on the PG&E website and through other sources. That is an important thing to know if you are a homeowner and making your disaster plan for your household, since if you have a large natural gas main nearby, you will likely want to evacuate the area quickly after an earthquake.

That access to the information changed after 9/11/2001, and it was a source of frustration for homeowners that we were training in home-preparedness. I had access to much of that information still through my contacts with the local disaster response agencies, but I was not allowed to share it.
 
  • #28
AlexanderReed said:
Hello,

I would like to know where I can find detailed control panels pictures of nuclear plants. Not necessarily the complete control room but the main panels. I need to be able to read switches, alarms lights, etc...

Have a nice day!

Thanks
Doubt you will get it. Think about about it.
Information on nuclear weapons, bioweapons and nuclear reactors and such is not going to widely available to the general public.
 
  • #29
anorlunda said:
Edit: The sadder part of the change is that the data for the grid's network used to be open. The lat/long/connectivity/impedances of every transmission line and distribution line used to be public.
berkeman said:
Same with the natural gas line infrastructure.

Actually, safeguards measures started just after February 26, 1993, with the bombing of the world trade center. I know, because I visited nuclear power plants before and after, and the change was noticeable with barriers and armed guards. The hardening of barriers was increased with successive attacks, e.g., bombings in Africa (e.g., Nairobi embassy), US Cole, and subsequently WTC again on 9/11/2001.

Electric grids, pipelines and bridges are identified as critical infrastructure, and a lot of details have been removed from public view. One could in theory access with permission, but one would have to demonstrate a compelling need to know.
 
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  • #30
Thanks to all for explanation, I will try to find the best way to "extrapolate" and avoid bull* as many as possible. Even if I know that I will have to implement a certain percent of bull* in the game. (With fake procedures, etc...)
 
  • #31
AlexanderReed said:
The game that I want to made will not be a full simulation, but only the main systems will be represented (not modeled).
I don't understand what you mean here. I know what power plant simulator models are (I spent a good bit of my career involved with them). I don't know what you mean by "represented."

Here is a concrete example of my confusion: Suppose your player shuts off the circulating pumps that push the river/ocean water through the main condenser. How can your game know what this does to the plant without having a model?
 
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  • #32
gmax137 said:
I don't understand what you mean here. I know what power plant simulator models are (I spent a good bit of my career involved with them). I don't know what you mean by "represented."

Here is a concrete example of my confusion: Suppose your player shuts off the circulating pumps that push the river/ocean water through the main condenser. How can your game know what this does to the plant without having a model?

Yes, in fact I missexpressed here.

I meant: "not realistically modeled" but yes modeled anyway.
 
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  • #33
Anyone else in this thread have the Feds banging on their front door?
 
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  • #34
AlexanderReed said:
Yes, in fact I missexpressed here.

I meant: "not realistically modeled" but yes modeled anyway.
Sorry, but you're talking to a bunch of professionals here. To us, that sentence is nonsense.
 
  • #35
DaveC426913 said:
Anyone else in this thread have the Feds banging on their front door?
No Dave, you're special. Well, plus I gave them your contact information when the served me with the subpoena yesterday...
 
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