Bill Mason in the McGuire Nuclear Station Work Control Center
It takes a dedicated team to handle the day-to-day functions of running a nuclear station, and Work Control Center (WCC) teammates ensure plant operations run smoothly with the authorization of all work prior to it being performed. Bill Mason (Senior Reactor Operator) gives us an inside look at how the WCC contributes to the overall success of nuclear operations.
Q: What is the WCC responsible for?
A: WCC teammates authorize all work activities that occur within the plant. From maintenance tasks such as tool calibration, valve lubrication and repairs to the testing of electrical breakers and pump pressures, the WCC approves everything prior to work beginning.
Q: Why is the WCC important to nuclear operations?
A: There are technical specifications (laws) mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that have to be followed, and WCC teammates make sure the plant is in compliance with the specifications related to its safe operation.
Q: Who staffs the WCC?
A: All teammates who work in the WCC are Senior Reactor Operators (SROs). Licensed by the NRC, SROs are responsible for monitoring and operating equipment in the control room in a safe and efficient manner and directing the licensed activities of Reactor Operators.
To support the WCC supervisor, the shift technical advisors assist with additional workload and help with the plant evaluation. The field supervisors provide oversight in the plant of anything that may arise. The WCC team rotates day-to-day, shift-to-shift with SROs in the Control Room and at times may serve as the plant supervisor.
Q: How does the workload change during a refueling outage?
A: During a refueling outage – when plants replace approximately one-third of the fuel, conduct inspections and make repairs and upgrades – the WCC team is split with half supporting the Outage Command Center (OCC) in various functions based on their level of expertise. All work performed during an outage is dispatched from the OCC.
Q: What is the most enjoyable part of working in the WCC?
A: The variety of work and working as a team to ensure safe and efficient plant operations.