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Offline M1Ark

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Instant SRO Questions
« on: Nov 04, 2005, 02:28 »
For those of you looking to make the transition to commercial nuclear power the following website is a great source for studying to get your NRC Generic Fundamental Exam out of the way.  Both Boiling Water Reactors and Pressurized Water Reactors are represented. 

http://www.quantumhyperspace.com/gfes/index.jsp

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #1 on: Nov 04, 2005, 10:10 »
OR just go to the NRC website. They have the latest exams and exam bank.

Mike

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #2 on: Nov 04, 2005, 12:04 »

http://www.quantumhyperspace.com/gfes/index.jsp has the NRC exam bank in it.

I found that the link I posted to be more helpful since you can study only selected areas you might be weak on.  This will also help you to determine what key concepts they are testing.

It probably wouldn't hurt to use both resources.

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #3 on: Nov 04, 2005, 03:06 »
Heck any source that gives you the answers in advance is welcome! I believe the NRC website is broken down by generic area.

One thing to warn new instants about, the NRC writes about 15 % new questions for each exam so just studying exam banks is not a recommended success path.

Mike

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #4 on: Nov 08, 2005, 08:31 »
For those of you looking to make the transition to commercial nuclear power the following website is a great source for studying to get your NRC Generic Fundamental Exam out of the way.  Both Boiling Water Reactors and Pressurized Water Reactors are represented. 

http://www.quantumhyperspace.com/gfes/index.jsp

Have the tests and answers found on the web link above been validated as accurate?
« Last Edit: Nov 08, 2005, 08:32 by scrub »

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #5 on: Nov 08, 2005, 08:35 »

Offline M1Ark

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #6 on: Nov 09, 2005, 09:07 »
Have the tests and answers found on the web link above been validated as accurate?

Accurate enough to pass an official NRC GFE exam with a 99%.
http://www.quantumhyperspace.com/gfes/index.jsp

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: SRO Instant
« Reply #7 on: Nov 09, 2005, 10:56 »
Or in todays day an age a 98%, 99% is no longer possible :)

Mike

maxxchia

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Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #8 on: Nov 19, 2005, 12:15 »
"Tracer" Mike, 

Awesome post.   I have a question for you since you have a SRO license.  I am a nuke ET chief (RCLCPO on a fast attack)with 10 years in, qualified Engineering Officer of the Watch (prototype), Engineering Watch Supervisor and Reactor Operator and am about to get out next year.  I have heard rumors that there are plants out there that are hiring folks like me directly into their Senior Reactor Operator program.  Is this true?  Looking for that big pay check.
« Last Edit: Nov 20, 2005, 08:40 by Nuclear NASCAR »

Offline MLew44

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Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #9 on: Nov 20, 2005, 11:28 »
"Tracer" Mike, 

Awesome post.   I have a question for you since you have a SRO license.  I am a nuke ET chief (RCLCPO on a fast attack)with 10 years in, qualified Engineering Officer of the Watch (prototype), Engineering Watch Supervisor and Reactor Operator and am about to get out next year.  I have heard rumors that there are plants out there that are hiring folks like me directly into their Senior Reactor Operator program.  Is this true?  Looking for that big pay check.

Apologies for butting in...

Maxxchia:  Odds are against you about 99 to 1 that you will be able to get out, get a job at a utility, land a slot directly into license class, AND actually come away with your SRO license. There are lots of roads to getting the license, but very few that short.

My background similar to yours, except I wasn't a chief. ET; Prototype qualified as EOOW, etc., etc. I had the same mind-set getting out too; thought I could do anything I put my mind to. Actually, though, getting my SRO license was far more difficult than anything I had done in the NAV, and I had several years experience as a non-licensed operator before license class. I doubt I would've made it had I tried to 'instant' right away. You like operations? My advice; get some plant time as an NLO first (by the way, the cash is almost as good depending on your overtime hours). 

The other part of this is that utilities only man up a class every so often; usually > 1 year between them. First slots for SROs usually go to exsisting RO licenses, then NLOs. Then others that meet the qualifications within the company (engineers, for example). VERY unusual to have ANY license candidates hired directly from the outside. There are too few slots for those applying within the company. Also, you need some in-plant time before the you'll meet the NRC requirement.

Good luck; hope things work out for you.
« Last Edit: Nov 20, 2005, 08:41 by Nuclear NASCAR »

Offline Broadzilla

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Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #10 on: Nov 20, 2005, 05:01 »
Apologies for butting in...

Maxxchia:  Odds are against you about 99 to 1 that you will be able to get out, get a job at a utility, land a slot directly into license class, AND actually come away with your SRO license. There are lots of roads to getting the license, but very few that short.

My background similar to yours, except I wasn't a chief. ET; Prototype qualified as EOOW, etc., etc. I had the same mind-set getting out too; thought I could do anything I put my mind to. Actually, though, getting my SRO license was far more difficult than anything I had done in the NAV, and I had several years experience as a non-licensed operator before license class. I doubt I would've made it had I tried to 'instant' right away. You like operations? My advice; get some plant time as an NLO first (by the way, the cash is almost as good depending on your overtime hours). 

The other part of this is that utilities only man up a class every so often; usually > 1 year between them. First slots for SROs usually go to exsisting RO licenses, then NLOs. Then others that meet the qualifications within the company (engineers, for example). VERY unusual to have ANY license candidates hired directly from the outside. There are too few slots for those applying within the company. Also, you need some in-plant time before the you'll meet the NRC requirement.

Good luck; hope things work out for you.


Well said, I told him the same thing via PM. However, since he did ask my help I'm going to look and see who is hiring, if they want to spend 90K on someone who most likely will fail the first time they go up, it's their dollar!

Mike
« Last Edit: Nov 20, 2005, 08:41 by Nuclear NASCAR »

Offline ranger2

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #11 on: Nov 20, 2005, 10:58 »
Maxx

For what it is worth, I know of one who has been hired this past month and one who is in the process of being hired from the outside for an SRO slot. Path is six months on-site OJT waiting for class to open, then class, then the test.

Can't speak to whether either will pass the test, nor do I know what happens if they do not.

One was a sub officer and the other still is (for a few months), not that that means anything as I suspect they have much to learn in the near future.  I may or may not be one of these folks.

Hope this helps

« Last Edit: Nov 20, 2005, 10:59 by ranger2 »

shayne

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #12 on: Dec 15, 2005, 01:51 »
I believe your chances would be better starting as a NLO and working your way up.  You will have a better understanding of the plant and develop better relationships with most co-workers.  It also increases your chances of getting your foot in the door at most nuclear power plants since very few hire instant SRO outside of the company.

Offline RP Instructor

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #13 on: Dec 20, 2005, 01:20 »
At VC Summer, we have what is called a "Senior Reactor Operator Certification" program. It's typically offered to engineers, managers and technical instructors. You train alongside the RO's going-up for their SRO license, with the training being  identical, however as an SROC graduate you cannot "stand watch" as the Control Room Supervisor or  Shift Supervisor. It's more of a career development program.

headsmag753

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #14 on: Jan 21, 2006, 06:20 »
"Tracer" Mike, 

Awesome post.   I have a question for you since you have a SRO license.  I am a nuke ET chief (RCLCPO on a fast attack)with 10 years in, qualified Engineering Officer of the Watch (prototype), Engineering Watch Supervisor and Reactor Operator and am about to get out next year.  I have heard rumors that there are plants out there that are hiring folks like me directly into their Senior Reactor Operator program.  Is this true?  Looking for that big pay check.

Maxx:  Don't give up on finding an Instant SRO position somewhere.  Many plants are finding that they have exhausted the RO-to-SRO path because many ROs don't want to be management (i.e. don't want to deal with all the hassle).
Like you, I qualified EOOW at prototype and EWS on my boats.  Many companies love the Navy Nukes who qualified EOOW in the Navy because it demonstrates to the employer that you are willing to work hard and would be dedicated to the process. 

If you are really interested in pursuing this career path, I would start at the NRC website.  They have a testing schedule for all the plants in the country.  What you want to get out of that schedule is this; Once a final license exam is taken, you can assume that a new class will start within the next 6-9 months.  Start plastering your resume to those companies first.  You may need to go to that companies website and submit your resume.  If you can find out who their recruiter(s) is, try to call them and speak with them live time.  I will tell you, SROs are in high demand and the future, especially with new plants being built, looks incredibly promising. 

If you have anymore questions, let me know.  I am currently getting my license and I will take my NRC Final in October.  I would be glad to help. 

Sincerely,
Frankie

PS...The money isn't too bad either!

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #15 on: Jan 22, 2006, 12:07 »
I know a couple of guys that got out of the navy and became SROs or STAs straight away (Instants).  They were officers, but I've heard of enlisted doing it.  There is a problem finding SROs in the industry at some plants, many people don't want to do it because of the added responsibility; they want to stay at RO or AO and continue getting paid the OT.  At some plants it's just not a good deal being an SRO (like Salem seemed to be back in 2001) for money and quality of life issues, and these plants are digging deep for Instants at times.  I think it a way better idea to be an AO (Non-Lic Operator) first, then become an RO then become an SRO, but if you want SRO right away, I think taking SRO at one of these "desperate" plants then moving to the plant of your choice after you get your lic would be the best way to do it.  But, if you just go ahead and take a job as an AO at the plant you want to work at and then get selected a year or 2 later as SRO may be a better gamble in the long run.....I'd suggest contacting an Ops manager at any plant (I believe the guy working at Port St. Lucie to be a straight shooter...) and having a conversation with him.  Those guys would probably enjoy talking to you as much as you would them.
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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #16 on: Jan 26, 2006, 11:22 »
Here are a few Utilities that in the past have hired straight into SRO class.

Florida Power & Light (FPL)
Exelon Generation Co., LLC
Nuclear Management Corperation (NMC)
Progress Energy
AmerGen Energy Co., LLC

It is a very challenging way to break into comercial nuclear power btu it has been done.  Just like anything else it all depends on you initiative, desire and abilities.

Hope this helps

NucEng for Hire

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #17 on: Jun 19, 2006, 10:30 »
Hate to bump an old post, but this one seems to have some contributors that might provide good insight if they’re still around…

I’d like to know what the key competencies are where these instants are failing?

Is it applied skills, such as a lack of ingrained familiarity with plant systems, plant feedback, or procedures that might be overcome with more time, experience and study?

Is it intangibles, such as coolness under pressure and mental agility, that a candidate largely either has or doesn’t have?

Is it external factors, such as attempting to complete a training program with a family and a home, and doing so far removed from good study habits of high school/college?

Or are there other competencies - related or unrelated to these - that are resulting in failed candidates?
« Last Edit: Jun 19, 2006, 10:33 by NucEng for Hire »

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #18 on: Jun 19, 2006, 12:21 »
Applied skills.

Offline rlbinc

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #19 on: Jun 19, 2006, 08:40 »
Hate to bump an old post, but this one seems to have some contributors that might provide good insight if they’re still around…

I’d like to know what the key competencies are where these instants are failing?

Is it applied skills, such as a lack of ingrained familiarity with plant systems, plant feedback, or procedures that might be overcome with more time, experience and study?

Is it intangibles, such as coolness under pressure and mental agility, that a candidate largely either has or doesn’t have?

Is it external factors, such as attempting to complete a training program with a family and a home, and doing so far removed from good study habits of high school/college?

Or are there other competencies - related or unrelated to these - that are resulting in failed candidates?


Instants fail frequently in concepts involving integrated plant knowledge. For example, a Bus Lockout or a Loss of Air - and the resulting compounded effects tend to challenge Instants more than a LOCA or a Plant Trip. In contrast, most NLOs who become ROs and then SROs have enough plant experience to fill in the gaps. The original license training programs were built around a career progression . Utilities would rather shoehorn Instants into the existing training program with some expectation of attrition, rather than redesign the training program to accommodate the lack of plant experience. 520 hours of OJT does not substitute for years on shift.

I have noted that in the 21st century, Initial License students expect to be spoon fed. This is in sharp contrast to a license earned in the 1980s or 1990s, where only self motivated students passed. Back then, they dropped people like hot potatoes during the License Class, rather than create another High Maintenance License.   The tendency to spoon feed marginal candidates is more pronounced at plants having "Non Licensed" Managers. Plant Managers who got a Turbo Cert or Management Cert, without actual NRC Licensing and the accompanying experience.

I am formerly licensed, spent 11 years on shift, and currently write NRC Exams.

NucEng for Hire

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #20 on: Jun 19, 2006, 09:20 »
Thanks for the detailed reply. I'll be one of those instant candidates beginning July 2007 (BWR). I'll be on site for a year prior, where rotations will be structured in the effort to increase my chances for success. I'll have some say in laying out those rotations - are there opinions as to what might be of most value to me? My background is a B.S. in mechanical engineering (emphasis in Rankine power cycles), M.S. in nuclear engineering (specialization in nuclear operations, including plant systems and reactivity feedback mechanisms), and time served as a production foreman in a unionized continuous-ops auto parts plant.


Offline M1Ark

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #21 on: Jun 20, 2006, 08:48 »
NucEng,

RBLINC is right on the money and the failure cause is all or even just one of the items you listed.  I would add one intangible for success for you and that is having a high situational awareness.

Degrees don't mean anything in this business.  I've had people working for me that have had multiple masters degrees in engineering from some of the top engineering universities in the nation yet don't have any idea what command and control is all about and make lousy SRO's.

I replied to this post since I saw that you are going into a BWR SRO instant program and RBLINC's comments.  I feel I have something to offer since my background is unique in that I was an ex-navy nuke non degreed that went to a BWR as an NLO and worked my way up the ranks and obtained a BWR SRO license (NOT an SRO instant).  I then went to a PWR to be an SRO instant and currently hold a PWR SRO license.

You have chosen the harder reactor type to be an instant SRO for a lot of reasons of which I'll try to illustrate.  Your situational awareness has to be much higher in a BWR than a PWR and that comes from experience/natural talent.  This has more to do with Emergency Operating Procedure philosophy between Westinghouse and General Electric Owners Group and less with plant design or other factors.  I received my SRO instant license  with 11 other candidates at my PWR with varying experiences and most of them would have ABSOLUTELY failed at my previous BWR.  There were a few previous BWR SRO's in our class and they all had this 'high situational awareness' I'm describing.  We all passed but the PWR EOP's (read emergency operating procedure) are pretty much cookbook.  They are event based and your hardest job is to diagnose the event correctly and then execute (cookbook).  If it gets tough then you could be in two events and must use a Functional Recovery procedure (2 events --- Yaaaawn!).  This approach confines the simulator instructors in that they have to give you enough cues to get you into the right procedure so that you can start to cookbook.  This data gathering for event diagnoses occurs in SPTA's (Standard Post Trip Actions) and is procedurally allowed to take as long as 15 minutes post scram.  This is laughable to a BWR SRO.  BWR's are symptom based Emergency Operating Procedures and this means that simulator instructors can take the gloves off.  They don't have to give you any visual cues.  Yes they'll put a hole in the reactor vessel just like the PWR folks will but they'll also take all your instrumentation away so that you don't know you have a hole in the reactor vessel and will on purpose mask the event to lead you into the WRONG procedure.  You could do something similar in a PWR simulator but getting into the wrong procedure in an event based EOP is catastrophic (AKA TMI) and deemed negative training. Also PWR EOP's would stumble with a scenario having more than 2 events.   

BWR's require this 'high situational awareness' because you have to weave in and out of as many as 4 or 5 leg's of the EOP's (event's or procedure) at the same time during the EOP's in the same scenario and must re-prioritize and re-direct your crew on a minute-by-minute basis and it could all be over in 15 minutes (hence the laughable comment).  Also, in a PWR you control very little of equipment in the control room and must call on the radio to a simulated operator to take your actions like in the navy ie: "Engineroom Supervisor! Make the main Engines ready to answer all bells!"... easier said than done and most watch officers know what's actually occurring but don't know how hard it is to actually execute.  In a BWR... you can do almost everything from the control room or simulator and actually have to perform most EOP actions yourself. The analogy could be the difference between an Air Force cargo plane pilot and an Air Force fighter pilot. One of them has to be better at his job.  The fighter pilot can probably fly a cargo plane and not always true vice-versa.

YMMV...

Two cents rolling on the table...

NucEng --- PM me with your phone number and I'll call you to give you more insight and some advice to be successful.

Offline Roll Tide

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #22 on: Jun 20, 2006, 09:38 »

You have chosen the harder reactor type to be an instant SRO for a lot of reasons of which I'll try to illustrate.  Your situational awareness has to be much higher in a BWR than a PWR and that comes from experience/natural talent.  This has more to do with Emergency Operating Procedure philosophy between Westinghouse and General Electric Owners Group and less with plant design or other factors. 

Not to get into a detailed point by point rebuttal, but the skill set is different for a BWR than a PWR. That doesn't make it harder. One new instructor at an anonymous plant was previously a SM on a BWR, so they tried to throw him into a PWR RO/SRO class. Certain members of the class bought some "Ginko Biloba" and had "BWR Brain Pep" labels applied to it.

You might ask BZ (via PM) if there were any previous BWR types in his class, if you want a different point of view.

It sounds like the difference would be in your perceptions; not every BWR operator can pass PWR operator training, and I have long held the opinion that anyone that can operate the more complex system (closed primary loop and S/G's) can operate the less complex system. It sounds like the simpler system gave you a good foundation; much like the simple Navy systems (or even see-through power plant demonstrations) have provided a foundation for many of us.
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Offline Broadzilla

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #23 on: Jun 20, 2006, 01:04 »
Actually I agree substantially with what M1Ark said although I would not indict any SROs I've met at my current plant. A PWR is a much simpler machine from an instrumentation, ECCS and Emergency Standpoint. The ECCS in a PWR is alomst kindergarten in it's simplicity compared with BWR ECCS. (Look at BWR ADS or RHR Logic if you doubt that!) The EOPs are prioritized for you and heck being in only one EOP at a time simplifies things a lot. Being a BWR SRO requires quite a bit more situational awareness especially in the EOP realm as once you're in one EOP you're in ALL EOPs and it's up to the SRO to Prioritize. In the PWR world so far as I can see, one RO can handle virtually all EOP actions while another RO performs whatever AOPs you need performed. In my experience as a BWR SRO and SM that wasn't possible, at least on a BWR 4 MK 1 plant. There were so many actions to perform simultaneously in the EOP world that you simply couldn't afford to send guys off to perform AOPs. The only exception was performing AOP actions that could directly help you and it best be quick. I will say in the EOP world being a BWR SRO is an order of magnitude tougher than in the PWR world, even in uncomplicated EOP events. That doesn't mean most if not all PWR SROs couldn't become BWR SROs, but if I was an unexperienced Instant starting out I'd go the PWR route.

On the other hand, manuevering a BWR is quite a bit simpler than a PWR. Shutdown Margin is never an issue. Height Dependent Insertion Limits aren't an issue. You don't really have to balance Boron, Rods and Xenon and you can move a BWR darn quickly. Fermi had a very nice feature , with one button you can run back Recirc Pumps to a certain flow which corresponded with around 60% power or so and it happened instantly. Post SCRAM if all rods but one inserted you were ok on SD Margin for all events.

For the most part the only big transitions for me were tripping a turbine on an ATWS (NEVER in a BWR) and the near zero implications of the MSIVs going shut in a PWR post trip. In a BWR you did whatever you could to keep those puppies open.

If I had a choice for an Instant I'd say going the PWR route is easier, practical application on UNCOMPLICATED events is easier, there is much less to put together. Any SRO can tell you instrumentation busses going away is a bear at any type of reactor.

I will agree, BWR SROs and ROs probably have more situational awareness but that's because they have to have it, it's the nature of their world. On the other hand, the average BWR SRO  might have a tougher time in the PWR world simply because you have to be carefull in moving the plant. M1Ark was a well above average BWR SRO so I'm not surprised he had no problems.

I will agree, most Instants who don't make it is because of pratical application and Command and Control. If you can't practically apply you'll never be able to do the other. Most Engineering Instants have trouble in that they want to memorize KW ratings and stuff which is really minor trivia, but don't understand what really happens if the pump goes away. An example, I knew an Instant that could tell you how many stages in a Heater Feed Pump, it's power rating and useless info like that. He could explain NPSH, flow vs Head and items like that. BUT if you started the pump he couldn't explain why feedwater pump speeds and flows did what they did. Bring a non degreed NLO into the control room and he'd say, well suction pressure increased to the feedpump, so NPSH went up so... and on and on. This wasn't an isolated case and it's VERY common with Engineering Instants and guys coming out of the Navy. THen if you tripped the boster pump he'd go heywire, look at the wrong things and make hasty decisions.

Mike

NucEng for Hire

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Re: Instant SRO Questions
« Reply #24 on: Jun 20, 2006, 09:44 »
With the key competencies of situational awareness and integrated application being a mixture of intangible and tangible traits, how do those typical failures get remediated to the point where they do pass? Does their onsite experience eventually build to the point where it compensates for their marginal reaction time? Are there training methodologies that can be employed to improve situational awareness? Again I ask because I may have a chance to bolster these competencies beforehand through the structure of my time leading up to the class.

 


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