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In An Identical Simulator, Pilgrim Operators Prep For Shutdown

The reactor control room simulator is a duplicate of the real control room at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, used for training Pilgrim staff. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

The reactor control room simulator is a duplicate of the real control room at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, used for training Pilgrim staff. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

Five miles from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, in a wooded, suburban neighborhood, in a nondescript office building, is a very unusual room. It looks a lot like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from the original “Star Trek” TV series.

The room is a simulator — an identical twin mock-up of the control room at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant.

“It’s exactly the same,” says Christina Renaud, senior operations trainer at Entergy’s Chiltonville Training Center. “The carpet tiles are the same colors, the ceiling tiles are the same. The garbage can locations, the printers, every computer screen is the same, every chair. Everything. When you are up here you might as well be at the plant.”

For weeks, crews have been using the simulator to train for Friday, when the nuclear plant shuts down for good.

“We made a commitment to be cold shutdown May 31,” Renaud says. “We’re going to start earlier so if there’s an equipment issue or something happens, we have time to respond and repair if necessary, and still meet our deadline.”

Visit WBUR for the full story.