The Savannah River Site’s Tritium plans to facilitate the future of training through virtual reality.

It has developed three virtual reality programs covering operations, maintenance, and radiation control (RadCon), facilitating employees’ training supporting the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

SRS is the only location where tritium-loaded tanks, called reservoirs, are prepared and delivered to the Department of Defense where weapons are mounted. Training is important to guarantee that the site continues to sustain the nuclear deterrence of the country. Virtual reality offers new opportunities that are not possible via traditional classroom teaching and on-the-job-training.

“Employees can train in situations that would be too hazardous, complex, expensive, or occur too infrequently to conventionally train,” said Adam Reese, Knowledge Preservation Management and VR Programs Manager, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, who introduced the idea of implementing virtual training.

The program offers virtual guidance to employees through an internal process that makes it look real to create random errors that employees can identify and resolve. Every time the employee goes through different training, ensuring attention to every detail while training.

The maintenance program takes employees through a virtual rebuild of a USD 70,000 equipment piece. VR enables employees to rebuild the equipment on repeated mode while simultaneously getting evaluated with no additional cost and worrying about real equipment getting damaged.

The RadCon program acts as a virtual room for technicians to take smears and surveys of contaminated surfaces. This enables technicians to practice contamination detection while staying in a completely safe, non-radioactive environment.

The Savannah River National Laboratory created virtual environments for the three programs by coding the programs and constructing computer-aided design files.

“These programs are just the beginning of the possibilities with VR training,” said Mark Davis, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Senior Vice President – National Nuclear Security Administration Operations and Programs. “They ensure we continue to execute our missions safely and proficiently, keeping us the backbone of deterrence in support of peace.”