For All of Us Who Told Our Parents Video Games Were Not A Waste of Time

Image representing Nintendo as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Anybody out there every play pong?  I bet those guys never dreamed that a video game would develop into what we see today.  Even when Nintendo first released Super Mario Brothers, who would have thought that gaming technology would impact so many industries?  In conversations I’ve had with several people in the energy industry over the last few months, gaming technology has come up.  This isn’t the have-you-played-the-new-Black-Ops kind of discussion either.  (Although, that comes up from time to time too.)  In the oil & gas space it has been about integrated operations, and that has inevitably led in to the topic of how many aerospace companies are crossing over into O&G these days.  It also put me in mind of a webcast  from a few months ago that is still available to view.  Really fascinating stuff!

Use of Gaming Technology and 3D Humans to Manage Worker Exposure to Radiation at Nuclear Plants

Utility workers at nuclear facilities are exposed to radiation that must be kept below certain levels to be considered safe. ALARA, an acronym for “As Low As Reasonable Achievable,” is a principle set forth by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that gives employers an absolute duty to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to the work in radioactive environments.

During this session, Siemens PLM Software and Microsoft will examine the unique challenges utilities face when training for and planning ALARA human work processes. A special guest speaker from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will talk about the ground breaking work they did to create an algorithm to estimate radiological dosage in nuclear plants. Siemens PLM Software and Microsoft will discuss commercial off the shelf software available today to help utilities improve employee health and safety programs by utilizing advanced IT tools for ALARA planning, while also improving work efficiency in the plant. Demonstrations will include Siemens PLM Software’s work planning application Tecnomatix with “Jack and Jill”, the virtual humans and the Kinect for Windows system.

You may have noticed that I get a kick out of the new technology that shows up…everywhere.  If you know of something new that you want to tell me about, drop a comment!  Commenting not your thing?  No biggie, email me,

 I’d love to hear about it!

‘Til next time,



Jellyfish, Bringing Down the House…or the Nuclear Plant, Actually


Who knew jellyfish could be such a menace?  I surely didn’t.  However, in the last few days I’ve read a couple of articles about jellyfish clogging up the cooling systems of nuclear plants.  The Oskarshamn nuclear plant in Sweden had to shut down due to the gelatinous creatures on October 1st.  They clogged up the pipes that pump water into the turbines in the number three reactor.

Oskarshamn is a boiling water reactor.  According to Wikipedia, a BWR works by using the reactor core to heat the water and turning it into steam.  The steam drives a steam turbine, generating electricity.  Fukushima Daiichi is another example of a boiling water reactor, which is the second most common nuclear reactor used in generating electricity.

This isn’t something new for operators of these facilities.  According to this article, last year in California the Diablo Canyon facility was forced to shut down reactor two because of sea salp clogging intake pipes. (These creatures are gelatinous also, similar to jellyfish.) October 1st was not the first time the reactor Oskarshamn had been attacked by gelatinous animals.  In 2005 jellyfish clogged up the cooling pipes.

So why are jellyfish such a hazard?  Some of these species are incredibly hearty creatures.  It doesn’t matter if the oxygenation levels in the water are low or if there are algae blooms, these moon jellyfish can still thrive.