In a nuclear power plant, safety is always the top priority. Walls are heavily fortified with concrete and heavy gauge steel rebar that can be several feet thick. Entering & exiting the containment chamber where radioactive elements are stored involves a series of preparations that must be highly coordinated. Naturally, all of these precautions create a challenging environment in which to maintain essential communication, particularly with regard to wireless users. That is why power plants choose RTS digital matrices interfaced with BTR wireless intercom systems from Telex.
In a typical nuclear outage, users on either side of the containment barrier must transmit messages to each other clearly and reliably at all times to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly. There is no room for error and no second chances. Since RTS & Telex intercom systems are central to the operation, many power plants opt to train and certify their users through the RTS & Telex Nuclear Outage Communications Workshop.
Britt Bowers, Regional Sales Manager for RTS Intercom Systems, was one of the presenters at the workshop this year. "This was our highest attendance ever. We had approximately 30 nuclear plants represented, in addition contract suppliers." says Bowers. "Attendees take away knowledge [of the intercom system] and application capabilities that help them coordinate operations in their plants more simply, creating a safer working environment."
The two-day workshop covers everything from maintaining wireless fidelity and setting up beltpack users to linking a digital matrix system to the plant’s IP network and managing it via AZedit control software.
"A typical nuclear plant features an RTS Cronus or ADAM digital matrix frame connected to several Telex RadioCom UHF synthesized wireless systems," Bowers explains. "Beyond that, every plant is different. Some interface two-way radios, telephones, fiber networks, copper -- you name it. Its our job to take those diverse requirements and design a system that works the way they need it to, when they need it to."
New to the agenda this year is the BTR-80N narrow band wireless intercom system. The Telex BTR-80N narrow band wireless intercom system offers the most comprehensive, user friendly and versatile set of features available in wireless intercom systems anywhere in the world. The narrow band system provides an unprecedented 25 kHz of modulated bandwidth, allowing more users per channel in the cramped UHF spectrum. The BTR-80N is based on the award-winning BTR-800 wireless intercom system, which has become a standard in the nuclear industry, and inherits features such as DSP digital processing and intelligent power control. The system offers up to four full duplex wireless TR-80N or TR-82N beltpacks per base station; an unlimited number of additional beltpacks can be added in half duplex operation. The highly scalable nature of the system means that users can install with confidence, growing their existing system if and when necessary without having to reinvest in redundant hardware.
Additional BTR-80N features include selectable transmitter power output, selectable receiver squelch control, RF meter display on base station and beltpack displays, remote battery indicators on base station display, low battery tone indicator on beltpack, AC or DC power input on base station, simultaneous two-wire and four-wire operation and more.
Also new to the workshop were the CLD Series color display keypanels by RTS. CLD Series keypanels are already in place at some nuclear facilities, and the time-saving productivity features are welcome enhancements in an environment where every second counts. The intuitive graphic interface is housed inside the full-color 4.9" LCD displays. The front panel also features conveniences such as user-programmable buttons, one-touch listen volume adjustment on each of the new multifunction user keys, and a backlit keypad. In addition, the KP 32 CLD can be ordered with the new, more intuitive CLD key sequences, or the classic key sequences. Like all RTS products, CLD Series keypanels are designed with expansion in mind. The front-mounted USB port and modular rear panels allow for future upgrades that will keep the CLD keypanels on the forefront of technology for years to come.
The same innovations that have made RTS the top choice among broadcasters can also apply to nuclear plants and other industries. "Our products work the same regardless of the industry," Bowers adds. "That is a core value of RTS, and our clients across all markets appreciate that."
RTS & Telex intercom systems are used in power plants all over the world. In the United States, dozens of plants trust RTS digital matrices and Telex RadioCom BTR Series wireless systems to deliver messages clearly and reliably during crucial procedures.