I came across an interesting blog post the other day…
Talk about operating blind. A great picture shows the status of the control room in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Unit 2 reactor…Nothing is working (besides the lights)!
All of the computer monitors are blank. The clock is dead. None of the equipment status lights and gauges appears to be functional. None of the annunciator windows are lit—and the plant is far from a condition where no parameters are in alarm status.
Compare this to the picture of the NRC’s Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Control Room simulator (taken in 2009).
It seems as though control rooms in the US Nuclear industry really haven’t evolved very much since the 1970s. Some would argue that operators were better in tune with the process (situation awareness) in this control room design, as compared to the modern control room of the chemical / petrochemical plant with banks of PC monitors. That’s the challenge for the modern day HMI / control room designer - to create the same level of operator situation awareness (or better) using different technology.