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Reference, Questions and Help => Polls => Topic started by: Gonzo on Jul 06, 2006, 10:14

Title: Northeast exam
Post by: Gonzo on Jul 06, 2006, 10:14
i'm just curious...   
seems like the exam's requirements are different from site to site.  some places require you to have passed it within the last two years, others less often and some expempt you if you're NRRPT...  i thought the concept was a standardized test to ensure the contractor's competence but maybe that idea has fallen by the wayside...   
what's everyone's thoughts?
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: alphadude on Jul 06, 2006, 10:57
The NEU is based upon an accredited test bank.. as far as criteria for acceptance, that was political in the past and sounds like it still is.  I did try to get the utilities to exempt NRRPT from the exam but it seems that where there was a "low" number of NRRPT on staff they did not want to think about it... (hmmm go figure-region one pukes) I even used the fact that the NRRPT was a "more" valid exam than the NEU based upon test statistics... anyway this is a little history from 1992 when we reviewed the NEU for validity.

Remember the days of the Salem test box? thats where it all started. (1979)
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: astronuke on Jul 06, 2006, 11:41
Having a (mostly) nationwide accepted test that had actual study material (unlike the NRRPT exam) was the reason many plants signed on to use the NEU exam.  Northeast Utilities (thanks to Jim Bennett) in the early days provided the exam, study material and maintained the database of scores, but it was up to each utility to decide how to use the exam. 

As Northeast Utilities cut its budget, they started to farm out writing of exam questions and the study guide.  Over the years the exam questions started to stray farther and farther from the study guide.  I participated in several of the exam question writing groups and always tried to steer my peers back to the study guide for question material.

Unfortunately, some contractors hurt their fellow workers by obtaining copies of the valid exams and distributing them.  This forced the utilities to only use randomized exams, so if there was an area you were weak on, it was possible to get an exam that weighed heavily in that area.  Instrumentation seemed to be an area that stumped quite a few people.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Roll Tide on Oct 21, 2006, 08:54
Instrumentation seemed to be an area that stumped quite a few people.


My greatest fear has always been that the tech covering the S/G jumpers would not know if the center wire was the anode or cathode.
 :P
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RDTroja on Oct 21, 2006, 10:40
My greatest fear has always been that the tech covering the S/G jumpers would not know if the center wire was the anode or cathode.
 :P

I had a similar fear, but it was whether or not the tech knew what kind of crystal was most commonly used in a proportional counter.

I just had to take the test for the first time in my career. Seabrook doesn't care if you have passed the NRRPT test, so there I was taking an HP test for the first time since 1991... had to dust off a few brain cells (the few still working, anyway) for that one. I am glad my brain retains trivia so well or I would have been in trouble. It may have been embarrassing for a 30+ year senior to fail the test!
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: SloGlo on Oct 21, 2006, 09:58
alla these coments cement the argument for standardized training.  in the us of a, unfortunately, that critter don't exist.  so whatcha going two due?  give a test.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Oct 22, 2006, 10:17
holy Christ! hasn't this topic been discussed before???
Mike M...I am not trying to to give you a hard time or doubt your abilities here but if you have taken the exam "over & over" then one would tend to believe that you can pass it & have done so many times. Don't you go to the places that you're a returnee??? When I was on the road, many sites were up to like 3-5 years for accepting the exam (Susquehanna, PV,Hope Creek come to mind)So, I guess the point is, what is next??? "oh, I only have 6 months in as a Jr. tech but I should be "grandfathered" to a SHP because I have been an outage secretary for the last year???
Sure there is a flip to everything & I have see my share of techs who have the exam & can't read a Mod2 or count a "nasal smear" in a Sam9 or put duct tape on a guy face to "decon it" but the reality(my POV) is that there has to be some kind of criteria that sets the bar, if not then ANYONE could do the job. And that's not to say that anyone CAN'T do this job..they can if they have the time in & can pass the exam.
The one aspect I would change is the line on the B website to remind folks that they have to "know" if they are current & if they need the exam, they better study on their own time. IMO, the utilities should give the contractors a couple of days do go over the material(while getting paid) & then take the exam.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: SloGlo on Oct 22, 2006, 09:52
while eye don't always agree with rrhoads i gotta this time.  imho, if a criteria is to be passed, it is most appropriate in a business sense to do it on corporate time.  it matters not whether it is client direct or company billable, but if a client wants something cleared, be it security, performance qualification, or psychological examination, n@ it is behooven to them to foot the bill.  on da udder hand, iffen a client is not willing to pay for their satisfaction of criteria, then they should pay a premium for those that come to the gate ready to go.  i suggest a 50% surcharge.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Oct 22, 2006, 10:23
RR, you just don't get it. I can pass the test and have been for many years. Its the fact that one must take it over and over. What purpose does it serve. That we bone up every 5 years.
Here..let me try something a little more PC, so it won't get deleted.
I see you have a "title" of "Health Physicist"
You'd think that a NUF exam would not be the big deal you are making it out to be!
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Oct 22, 2006, 10:53
i guess you never will either 8)
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: wglewallen on Oct 22, 2006, 11:39
That is the biggest problem in this damn business:Cannot get roadtechs to stick together on anything.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Oct 22, 2006, 11:51
That is the biggest problem in this damn business:Cannot get roadtechs to stick together on anything.
done deal..i don't have the "problem" of taking that test anymore. Just cycle training..iam off the road. 8)
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Mike McFarlin on Oct 22, 2006, 11:59
I'm still and probably always will be on the road. I don't have a problem with it, just studying for an exam for your job where you don't use any or very little of the study material. I guess its a necessary ritual, take care.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Oct 23, 2006, 12:16
I'm still and probably always will be on the road. I don't have a problem with it, just studying for an exam for your job where you don't use any or very little of the study material. I guess its a necessary ritual, take care.
Well on that point i totally agree. ;) very little or nothing to do w/ the job...just a necessary evil! Seems like every job has a downside...cheers!
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Mike McFarlin on Oct 23, 2006, 12:28
That is the biggest problem in this damn business:Cannot get roadtechs to stick together on anything.
Brother, I totally agree!
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: hoghunter on Nov 11, 2006, 03:08
Roll Tide
I started out in 1981 with decon. I've  picked up JR jobs through the yrs. I'v been to 29 plants, have 30 R for life. So I guess my point is I've used a few meters and don't care about ANODE or CATHODE I prefer to know what the meter is reading on the face.My next job will be 18.1, But first I got to make 80% on a test that you don't use 80 to 90% of in the field. I don't see how that test can tell people if you know your job in the field. I say experience will make a good tech . not a test
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RDTroja on Nov 11, 2006, 07:35
... I say experience will make a good tech . not a test

I agree that experience is more valuable than a test and also that this particular test has a lot of 'show off' material in it, but (there is always a but, isn't there?) the knowledge that you can gather while studying (or researching) for this test can be very valuable even if it is not necessary. Does the average senior tech need to know the anode from the cathode in a detector? No.  Do you often calculate point sources or line sources in day to day HP work? No. Does knowing this information and the other information that gives you the ability to pass the test help in making intelligent decisions in the field? Absolutely. I would much rather work with a 10 year senior that does not know all of the esoteric information in the test than someone that can pass the test but has no field experience. However, the best techs will be the ones that cen predict what is going to happen rather than react to it. The only way you are going to develop that ability is to know the theory behind your craft.

Knowing the inverse square law and how to apply it, being able to recall the tenth (or half) value layers for certain materials, roughly calculating air samples in your head, and even knowing what 'We are now in mode 4' means will make you a better technician whether you believe it or not. (However, knowing what crystal is used in a proportional counter or differentiating between an anode and a cathode in a detector may not.) I also recommend that you get some systems knowledge if you don't already have it. Knowing what part that valve you are breaching plays in the grand scheme can help you predict what kind of trouble you are getting into. Understanding decay modes and radiation interactions will help you recognize out-of-the-ordinary occurrences and prepare you to do the right thing when you encounter them. You might even impress someone that could help your career.

Knowledge is power. Never throw away an opportunity to acquire more.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: SloGlo on Nov 11, 2006, 08:52
rdtroja hits da nail ona head one moor time.  after taking da test a hole bunch of times, you'd think it'd be a relaxing exercise in a familiar area that one cood get paid for.  of coors, iffen ya are tired of taking dis test, quit taking the lowly tech jobs, grab sum engineering slots, make moor money n@.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Imaginos on Nov 11, 2006, 09:12
"What's that got to do with friskin' a wrench?" ----Bob Cowan, 1988
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Rad Sponge on Nov 11, 2006, 09:25
"Whats that got to do with Frisking a Wrench?"

Well...

1. Where was the wrench used?
2. What were the possible contaminants?
3. What type of meter is uded?
4. What type of probe was used?
5. Does this particular wrench have any crevices that are inacessible?
6. Does this wrench have any self shielding pieces?
7. Are you qualified to free-release this wrench?
8. Is the meter calibrated?
9. Is the meter source checked?
10. What is the background where you are counting it?
11. Can you hear the audible response?
12. How fast are you frisking?
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Imaginos on Nov 11, 2006, 09:32
I guess one would have to know Bob Cowan in order to appreciate that quote...
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: workinman on Nov 11, 2006, 11:30
Quote from: RELLISON62 on Today at 03:08
... I say experience will make a good tech . not a test

    Granted, the Northeast exam has always been full of non-practical test questions but it's still all related in the grand scheme of things!  Experience, coupled with knowledge makes the best techs.  This business is loaded with Rocket Scientist HP's that can't tell you the difference between an impeller and a CET but they're out in the field wielding supreme executive power, it's also loaded with techs covering jobs who couldn't tell you the difference either!  You need a little of both!  Just as Doctor's, CPA's, Attorneys and a plethora of other professional positions whose occupations have an impact on the public, we too have to prove ourselves both from a practical and a theoretical basis.  The job does, and always has paid well!  I think that having to pass an exam is a small price to pay for the amount of money we get in return for being HP's!

P.S.  If you think the Northeast tests you on useless material, try the NRRPT!
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Marlin on Nov 11, 2006, 01:24
Here are other perspectives:

1)  If you are responsible for a license you have an obligation to comply with a license and federal regulations in such a way that it can be demonstrated even after the current players are gone and all that is left is paper and an empty field where the facility use to be.

2)  No matter how much experience, training, or education you have you are not a Rad Tech in any facility unless you are certified as one in the facility you work. NRRPT is the only way you have to truly say you are a Technologist outside of employment of a facility.

3)  Resumes are easier to exaggerate or flatly falsify than training credentials. Those of us who have been in the business long enough have seen experience on resumes stretched to near breaking or fully into fantasy land.

4)  Part of a Rad Techs job is to communicate clearly with anyone they work with, including the public in my opinion. Both practical and theoretical knowledge is needed to do this.

5)  Contract technicians may work inside a variety of radiological environments making adaptability important, fundamental understanding of theory makes this transition much easier.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: wlrun3@aol.com on Nov 12, 2006, 04:38
   
   "the theory forms a necessary foundation of knowledge upon which the more practical aspects of radiation protection technology are based." 

   basic radiation protection technology, gollnick, 5th edition, page 3
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Chimera on Nov 12, 2006, 09:44
I have noticed a disturbing trend at some facilities to include questions on the NUF Exam that cover materials not included in the study materials.  This seems to be especially so in the area of instrumentation.  This does create problems for new technicians (and non-technicians working on their upgrades) who do not have a lot of practical, hands-on meter experience.  Sites that feel they need to introduce materials that are not included in the standardized study materials should put out a site-specific study guide so everyone knows what to expect when they take the test at that site.  This "trend" stands in opposition to the objective-based format of all commercial plant training classes.  The test needs to conform to the objectives in the standardized materials as well as the actual content of the materials.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RRhoads on Nov 12, 2006, 10:26
i always thought that the "study guide" was just that.Not a be all end all guide encompasing everything....I was always told to reference other study material like that MOE thing & the DOE stuff is helpful too...gives a different perspective.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Atomic_Punk on Nov 12, 2006, 08:40
"Whats that got to do with Frisking a Wrench?"

Well...

1. Where was the wrench used?
2. What were the possible contaminants?
3. What type of meter is uded?
4. What type of probe was used?
5. Does this particular wrench have any crevices that are inacessible?
6. Does this wrench have any self shielding pieces?
7. Are you qualified to free-release this wrench?
8. Is the meter calibrated?
9. Is the meter source checked?
10. What is the background where you are counting it?
11. Can you hear the audible response?
12. How fast are you frisking?

What's any of this got to do with the test?  This is all "experience based" and "common sense" knowledge.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: hoghunter on Nov 14, 2006, 01:46
The response I recieved from a previous statment, I do agree knowlegde of  the nuclear enviroment is importent.I have passed the test before, but since then my time ran out and now they try to make the test so much more on instrumentation. I am simply saying that being a brain whiz will not give the experience to anticipate what could and may happen in the field and to also know what to do when a problem occurs.I just think the test alone doesn't make a good tech. I think knowing the systems, being able to get along with others and anticipate is a key ingredient to being a good tech.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Old HP on Nov 15, 2006, 10:51
The bottom line is the utilities DO NOT care if the techs have taken the test 1 time or 10 times,the test is administered as a form of protection for them. Think about it the next plant you work at as you spend 2-3 days in training and then are asked to sign that you are familiar with the procedures and the expectations of the management.Does anyone remember when you actually had training that was really useful for the job you actually worked during an outage?
Nowdays the use of mockup and practical training is very minimal. Yet the utilities complain that there are not enough techs. It seems no one has figured out that with the short outages and lack of time for proper training that the less experienced techs get few opportunities
to learn and improve their knowledge base.
Alas I digress, I guess I'll go take the NEU exam, that always (?) makes me feel better.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Mike McFarlin on Nov 16, 2006, 01:43
A good analogy--It would be like taking your driving test over each time your license needs renewing. think about it.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RDTroja on Nov 16, 2006, 02:53
A good analogy--It would be like taking your driving test over each time your license needs renewing. think about it.

True... but I know a lot of drivers that should do that!

I am not a fan of the test, but I am a proponent of learning the information in the test.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: wglewallen on Nov 16, 2006, 09:04
My comment to the test is study your rear off for about two weeks take the test then do not worry about it again for 4 or 5 years, and forget every thing you have learned in a short period of time.  There is very little of it that you will use while working a nuclear plant. Now! that makes a lot of sense. Discussing this is like the weather, religion and politics something we as technician are not going to change.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: SloGlo on Nov 16, 2006, 11:57
A good analogy--It would be like taking your driving test over each time your license needs renewing. think about it.

better analogy would  be like taking the mmpi test over each time you want to go to work in a nuke power plant.  'n doz questios don't even git changed.  but it'sa valid test, rite?  duz ennybuddy due study guides fer it?  i mean, ain't a nuke welders test da same at every plant?  enny study guides fer dat won?
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Roll Tide on Nov 17, 2006, 08:08
I am simply saying that being a brain whiz will not give the experience to anticipate what could and may happen in the field and to also know what to do when a problem occurs.I just think the test alone doesn't make a good tech.

I agree wholeheartedly. Hope you realize that I was being sarcastic on the S/G comment... 8)

I was a better tech after taking the test (because I studied some stuff I hadn't looked at in a while), but passing the test didn't guarantee my competency.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: hoghunter on Nov 17, 2006, 10:36
In reply to ROLL TIDE. I realize that already and regret my statement. I just get sick of these so called book whiz's thinking knowledge is all you need. Please accept my apology. You know what I'm trying to say about the test.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Roll Tide on Nov 17, 2006, 10:48
Please accept my apology. You know what I'm trying to say about the test.

No apology needed. But if you insist, it is accepted.

It sounds like we are saying the same thing about the test.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Chimera on Nov 19, 2006, 05:08
i always thought that the "study guide" was just that.Not a be all end all guide encompasing everything....I was always told to reference other study material like that MOE thing & the DOE stuff is helpful too...gives a different perspective.
I agree and I recommend this to other people getting ready for the test, also.  I especially recommend the DOE lesson on Mathematics as a review of the basics for those who feel they are weak in that area.
However, my original point is that some sites include questions (especially in the area of instrumentation) that are completely site specific and/or instrument specific and not included in any of the above materials.  Those sites should prepare a study guide addendum that includes their specifics instead of blind-siding the technician when he walks into the room to take the test.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: RDTroja on Nov 19, 2006, 06:50
...some sites include questions (especially in the area of instrumentation) that are completely site specific and/or instrument specific and not included in any of the above materials.

Unless things have changed since I was an instructor (and they probably have to some extent) the questions all come from a standard bank and are (somewhat) randomly selected. I don't think the utilities are allowed to add their own questions and still consider it the 'standardized' test that it is supposed to be.

But, as several people have stated before me, I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: ShovelHeadRed on Nov 19, 2006, 07:53
...I disagree with "the old HP",,,about Mock-ups not being used...I have worked for AREVA and Westinghouse, they both have great facilities that are being used now, for the upcoming outage season,,,onsite mock ups are not the only training aids .....as far as the NEU,,,without this standard, we would be back to the old times of bartenders, dancers and waitresses being paid the same wage as a degreed, ex-navy, or deconner that worked their way to Sr HP( all three are knowledgable, trained professionals) the test like RD Troja said has changed, the training days have gone away, and this test is one way the utility has to support their claim that Nuclear Power is SAFE
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: SloGlo on Nov 19, 2006, 04:26
.....as far as the NEU,,,without this standard, we would be back to the old times of bartenders, dancers and waitresses being paid the same wage as a degreed, ex-navy, or deconner that worked their way to Sr HP( all three are knowledgable, trained professionals) the test like RD Troja said has changed, the training days have gone away, and this test is one way the utility has to support their claim that Nuclear Power is SAFE

persunelly, i think that ffd did more to eliminate the bartenders, dancers and waitresses (not that theirs enny thang rong wit them) being in da field than the neu.  study guides, cram sessions, 'n udder study methods will enable an enterprising individual a way to pass da test, but da ffd test got rid of plenty more undesirables. 
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: lauriema19 on Nov 19, 2006, 04:36
How about Comanche Peak's NUE? Do they produced their own test or the standard nue?
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: Old HP on Nov 20, 2006, 09:01
Hey shovelhead,

In regard to the mock-up training. I am very familiar with what Areva and Circle Bar W have. I have run training programs at The Mill. However I was refering to the fact that time is so tight now that it is rare to even have the HPs meet the people they are covering before they are in containment. In the last 10 years it has averaged 1 in 3 sites at least invite the techs to the prejob briefing for jobs like ECT, CRDs and refueling activities. The rest just expect you to jump in and cover the jobs and know what is coming. I have seen many techs get steamrolled because of management's expectation that all techs  should know everything.  Let me know if you have expeienced a better percentage.
Title: Re: Northeast exam
Post by: ShovelHeadRed on Nov 20, 2006, 03:47
... ok.. old HP...what percentage are you refering to?...you confused me...the training classes you had at "the  mill"...I may have attended...I worked for both Master-Lee and Westinghouse...send me an e-mail...or if you dont mind people knowing , who are you?...I am Bud Broom