Dynamic RadIation Visualisation Engine - DRIVE 2011-2013
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA) has since 2005 carried out a program of regulatory support projects, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA). The objective of the program is to support the Russian civilian regulators, the Federal Medical Biological Authorities of Russia (FMBA) and the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia, as well as the corresponding nuclear and radiation safety authority within the Russian Ministry of Defense with development and implementation of methods and tools for better regulatory supervision of the Andreeva Bay and Gremikha Sites of Temporary Storage (STS) for Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) and Radioactive Waste (RW).
In 2005-2009 regulatory investigations were completed at the Andreeva Bay and in Gremikha within the collaborative NRPA-FMBA program. The radiation and radio-ecological situation was assessed, and criteria and regulations of the STS remediation were developed, as well as the guidance for their application for three possible options of environmental remediation (conservation, conversion and liquidation). As part of the project the Federal Medical-Biological Centre (FMBC), a technical support organisation to FMBA, developed the DOSEMAP and DATAMAP applications for the FMBA, supporting radiation risk monitoring, worker radiation exposure control and deeper understanding of the evolution of the radioactive contamination situation.
Taking account of the FMBA need in further upgrading its capabilities in the area of radiation protection during the STS remediation, the NMFA in December 2010 decided to fund a new project for the 2011-2013 timeframe. The tittle of the project is “Dynamic RadIation Visualisation Engine” (DRIVE). The participants were Institute for energy technology (IFE) in Norway and the FMBC.
The DRIVE project aimed to utilize results and experiences from the existing and continued DOSEMAP and DATAMAP projects by using IFE Virtual Reality (VR) tools to enhance regulatory supervision and safety planning in the Andreeva Bay.
Tools for optimization of the waste management strategy and improving radiation safety through better worker radiation awareness was developed based on technology developed by IFE in the OECD Halden Reactor Project as well as for VR based planning and training at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) as part of the Norwegian program for increased safety towards nuclear power plants in Russia, Central, and Eastern Europe.
Scope of the DRIVE project
The DRIVE project aimed to utilize results and experiences from the existing and continued DOSEMAP and DATAMAP projects by using IFE VR tools to enhance regulatory supervision and safety planning in the Andreeva Bay area. Input and data from the continued DOSEMAP and DATAMAP projects formed the basis for all tools. This was achieved by developing software for optimization of the waste management strategy and by improving radiation safety through better worker radiation awareness in Andreeva Bay premises. That was to:
- Utilize experience and technologies developed by IFE for VR based planning and training at LNPP and ChNPP as part of the Norwegian programme for increased safety towards nuclear power plants in Russia, Central, and Eastern Europe.
- Establish an interface between IFE’s VR-based tools and the data collected and the database formats developed in the DOSEMAP project in Andreeva Bay.
- Interface available GIS data and 3D models of radiation hazardous areas and facilities to a VR application allowing for dynamic walk through scenarios based on radiation data collected in the DATAMAP project.
- Develop documentation material and provide training courses for personnel of operating organizations.
Results from the DRIVE project
Optimization of the management strategy and improving radiation safety required a number of different tools. The DRIVE project produced 3 tools aimed for different purposes:
- Andreeva Planner (AP) for simulating work scenarios, with radiation visualization, dose-rate charts and dose calculation for scenario participants.
- Andreeva Terrain Viewer (ATV) for combining geodetic terrain data with radiological information and visualization, thereby providing wide-area dynamic visualization of the radiation situation in selected areas.
- Andreeva Procedure Creator and Trainer (APCT) for briefing and training personnel practicing work tasks in a safe virtual environment before actually doing the tasks in real life.
The software tools developed in the DRIVE project allow for interactive walk through scenarios in a safe virtual environment. Virtual scenarios are easily defined by inserting virtual objects representing content in the real world. In addition it is possible to supply the environment with radiation data, supporting both measurements as well as calculations based on radiological information. The radiation can be visualized in various ways and information on the instant dose rates as well as the accumulated doses of personal is supplied.
By facilitating improved planning, training and communication, many unwanted incidents might be avoided. Among the planning tools that seek to accomplish this are ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) support tools. Virtual reality based ALARA tools have the potential to being useful for minimizing doses but also for improving communication between involved parties, and thus safety.
Furthermore, the DRIVE software provided the project team with an effective medium in presentations to the public as well as for communicating with the management and the licensing authorities.
Andreeva Planner (AP)
The Andreeva Planner (AP) is a desktop 3D tool for simulating work scenarios, with radiation visualization and dose-rate charts in addition to dose calculation for scenario participants. The AP is based on the Halden Planner developed in the OECD Halden reactor project in combination with the generic planning and training software developed for the LNPP and ChNPP projects. The final version of Andreeva Planner was based on IFE’s commercial version of Halden Planner called VRdose.
The AP supports real-time visualization of measured dose rates based on interpolation algorithms. Provided the location and characteristics (i.e. type of isotopes and their activity) of radiological sources are known, AP is also able to calculate dose rates real-time, quantify the contribution from various radioisotopes and to take into account the effects of shielding. Given the knowledge of activities of specific isotopes (if available), the future radiation situation can also be predicted by taking into account the half-life of the dominating isotopes.
Andreeva Terrain Viewer (ATV)
The Andreeva Terrain Viewer (ATV) is for combining geodetic terrain data with radiological information and visualization, thereby providing wide-area dynamic visualization of the radiation situation in selected areas.
Since the last quarter of the 20th century, several methods for visualizing large terrains on a computer have been developed. Visualizing large terrain models requires powerful graphics hardware and even high-end modern graphical cards are not capable of generating a high-resolution virtual terrain covering a large geographical area. To visualize 3D-models as large as the entire planet we need techniques to be able to render data sets that are larger than the available main memory on the computer we are running on, or that can be handled in real-time by the 3D graphics hardware. The DRIVE project addressed this issue.
The Andreeva Terrain Viewer is a cross-platform software tool for visualizing large virtual terrains. The virtual terrain is built up using elevation data and satellite imagery from a geodetic database. The software is extendable and interfaced with other software developed at IFE in order to create more dynamic virtual environments. By combining geodetic terrain data with radiological information and visualization, the software is able to provide wide-area dynamic visualization of the radiation situation in selected areas.
Andreeva Procedure Creator and Trainer (APCT)
The Andreeva Procedure Creator and Trainer (APCT) is for training personnel in practicing work tasks in a safe virtual environment before actually doing the tasks in real life. This could lead to reduced work times, resulting in reducing worker exposure and overall doses.
Human errors may have significant impact on nuclear plant safety, productivity, and operation. The complexity of handling spent nuclear fuel and managing radioactive waste means that the personnel need good knowledge and skills about the correct procedures. The planning and training should familiarize the trainees with procedures, equipment, steps, coordination, inspections, and safety concerns. Intensive training before the real operation takes place may be effective for reducing radiation exposure dose, workload and for enhancing safety.
To be effective, the training must transfer to the actual work environment, meaning that the skills and behaviours learned during training must be demonstrated in the working conditions. The training should therefore satisfy some general requirements stating that the training must involve the active participation of the user. In addition, the trainee should receive feedback on his performance.
Two or more trainees are able to train on a predefined work procedure in a 3D VR world. Collaborative training allows for training on a procedure involving real-time cooperation between the trainees when performing a task. An instructor can set up the training scenario for each individual trainee including the level of guiding and the incidents that the trainee may experience. The instructor is also able to log the trainee's actions during training and evaluate the trainee's performance.
Use of Andreev Planner in the Research Emergency Exercise (REE) in June 2016
Andreeva Planner was used by FMBC in an emergency exercise in Andreeva Bay, which was organised by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA) in cooperation with several international and Russian authorities. The name of the exercise was Research Emergency Exercise (REE) and it took place in Moscow, Murmansk and Andreeva Bay 1-3 June. The scenario was release of radioactivity and contamination of the local area caused by the crash of a helicopter in SNF transport container. FMBC utilised Andreeva Planner both in the planning of the scenario and during the exercise itself as can be seen on the picture below.
VRdose (IFE’s commercial software for decommissioning planning):
“3D simulation as a tool for improving the safety culture during remediation work at Andreeva Bay”: