Nyhet | 2015-07-07 | 13:10

Using Shared Priorities to support training of nuclear power plant control room crews

Master's thesis by Ellen Ekström, Cognitive Science Program at Linköpings universitet.

Supervisor at Vattenfall: Pär Gustavsson.


Swedish nuclear power plant control room crews have training sessions in full scope simulators every year. These sessions are designed to prepare operators to cope with incidents and accidents. The aim is to develop operators' knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to operate the nuclear power plant in a safe manner. Training sessions is an opportunity to practice and develop the crews' teamwork, decision processes and working strategies.

The purpose of this study was to explore if and how the instrument Shared Priorities can support training of nuclear power plant control room crews. Shared Priorities is an instrument to measure teams' shared awareness of a situation and has in earlier studies been used in military and student teams. During the simulator re-training period of control room crews, 14 crews used the instrument Shared Priorities in one or two of their training scenarios. The instrument consists of two steps. Firstly, crew members generate and prioritise a list of five items they think are most important for the crew to cope with in the scenarios current situation. They also rank another crew member's list. Secondly, the crews and instructors perform a focus group discussion based on the generated lists.

Results from questionnaires, focus group discussions and an interview with instructors showed that operators and instructors believe that Shared Priorities can support their training in several ways. Crews see meetings and other disseminations of information as an essential part of maintaining shared understanding of different situations. They believe the instrument may help crews reflect upon and develop their meeting procedures. Operators and instructors also believe that by using the instrument it can help crews to increase their understanding of having a shared situation understanding and shared vision. However the procedure when using Shared Priorities has to be modified in order to be able to support crews' training in an optimal way.