Training powered up at Sizewell

AUTHOR: Inavate

British Energy recently commissioned Carillion Communications to create a bespoke audio-visual simulation facility dedicated to training staff who work at the Sizewell B plant in Suffolk. Sizewell B has the UK’s only large Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) and is capable of supplying around two million households.

The audio-visual installation extends over several working environments, a control room and one large plant area. The requirement was to create a simulated working environment with the ability to re-create real-life operations and possible problems under the close scrutiny of the Sizewell training team. The brief included the capability for two-way communication within the training environment and the capacity to record and playback the results of the training to the staff. Using both remote video and audio monitoring and playback, this would provide a powerful input into debriefings and enabling the trainers to identify precise areas where improvements in working practice could be made.
Carillion Communications worked closely with Polar Audio to specify a quality, cost-effective solution for the specific requirements of this unusual installation. The system specification included two zones of 100V line paging, a stereo source input channel, eight microphone channels and a selection of active and passive loudspeakers. The audio is controlled and configured by a fully loaded Biamp AudiaFlex DSP Mainframe with Cobranet®, incorporating five IP2 dual input cards and seven OP2 dual output cards. The system uses the Biamp NPS-1 (Network Paging System unit) which connects directly to the AudiaFlex via Cobranet and allows each training room to be paged individually.

Daniel Fattorini, Senior Consultant at Carillion Communications, commented: “The Biamp AudiaFlex provides the ultimate flexibility at the heart of this system with its audio routing and processing. It allows the customer to perform two-way communications, paging, effects processing, PA routing and control and the provision of a broadcast quality mix for recordings. The inclusion of CobraNet and the NPS-1 allowed for a trouble-free installation as well as lots of options for future expansion.”

Installed in the control room were other Polar Audio-distributed products including Blue Sky Sat 6.5 active loudspeakers, specifically designed for high quality monitoring, whilst the training rooms and plant area feature Renkus-Heinz CFX121 loudspeakers, powered by a bank of Dynacord PCL Amplifiers. Carillion Communications also specified Beyerdynamic Ceiling Microphones and a Beyerdynamic Opus 900 radio microphone system to ensure exceptional audio quality coupled with freedom of movement and ease of communication.

Matthew Buck, account manager at Polar Audio, commented on the installation: “Carillion Communications saw that the combination of a Biamp AudiaFlex DSP frame with a CobraNet-based NPS-1 paging system would allow very cost-effective and simple installation of a versatile system using Sizewell’s pre-installed Cat5 wiring infrastructure, and eliminating the need to re-run cables saved the customer significant costs. Carillion executed the installation with outstanding attention to detail; we worked closely with them to ensure that the client received the best value for money by integrating the very latest technologies.”
Carillion’s team also helped make the simulation as realistic as possible by recording the day to day sounds of the power station, using a mobile recording system, for playback via a Roland sample player during training sessions – when the Dynacord / Renkus-Heinz sound reinforcement system is called upon to reproduce the huge sound of the reactor’s turbines.

Alongside the audio system, a comprehensive video monitoring and recording system was installed, including a Vista Joystick controller and eight Powerdome cameras. The system is controlled via a Crestron touch-screen controller.