Southeast Community College
prides itself in providing high-level training to students in more than 50
programs. One of those programs is Energy Generation Operations.
The program, which began five
years ago and is located on SCC’s Milford Campus, now boasts some of the best
training equipment in the industry. John Pierce, program chair, said the new Control
Room Simulator “is the only one of its
kind at any college in the country. Our simulator replicates the control
room of a power plant, including realistic time delays and equipment responses
to prepare our students for real-life experiences.”
A reception commemorating the completion of the simulator
was held May 17. The training equipment is located in Room 178 of the Eicher
The simulator, built by SimGenics of Colorado, is worth
approximately $250,000 but was sold to SCC for a fraction of the cost in order to give students the best possible learning
experience. SCC’s Opportunity Grant added additional funds to equip the
room so that it could serve as a classroom.
The system includes 3DPact,
a product with the latest 3D virtual
reality software, enabling students to have realistic power plant
experiences. When operating in the virtual power plant, students can actually
change conditions that will respond in the control room and the VR-simulated
power plant in real time.
“We try to replicate the control room as close as we can,” Pierce said.
“It’s such a powerful teaching tool. I put second-quarter students in here, and
after two hours they come out and speak the lingo.”
The 3DPact computer is in a room physically separated from the control
room so that students must interact directly through the simulation equipment,
or with two-way radios and/or intercoms.
“We can simulate virtually any abnormal or emergency condition that can
occur at two types of power plants, Combined Cycle (jet engine) powered and
coal-fired electric generating power plants,” Pierce said. “We can also
simulate startup and shutdown under controlled conditions and have the complete
procedures for both types of plants to do this.”
Pierce said the simulator could benefit employees of power plants in southeast
Nebraska such as LES and NPPD, as they do not have a training facility like
this and are considering using it to train their employees.
The goal of the simulator is to prepare students for
real-life experiences in a control room at two different types of power plants
currently operating in North America, including several in SCC’s region.Persons interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to
go online at www.southeast.edu/EnergyGenerationOperations, or contact Pierce at 402-761-8394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The six-quarter program offers focus areas in Industrial Process Operations,
Military and Nuclear.