Human Dimension of Nuclear Energy. What Does Work of Nuclear Power Plant Psychologist Consist Of?

Psychologists and nuclear energy? From the point of view of the outsider, these phenomena are from parallel realities. Let’s consider this issue step by step.

Nuclear power plants generate electricity 24 hours a day. Clear human-machine interaction is required for this complex mechanism to run like clockwork. There is a need for highly experienced staff since nuclear energy is a strategic industry and the cost of an error is too high. And, unfortunately, Ukraine learned it to its own cost in 1986.

Operation of the power unit or other NPP equipment requires not only appropriate education, practice and SNRIU license but also psychologic qualification of the employee considering his/her personal qualities. So the psychologist is needed everywhere at the nuclear power plant where the personnel operates the equipment. After Chernobyl disaster, one of the root causes of which is considered to be the human factor, the psychological service became an integral part of every nuclear power plant.

To understand the tasks of nuclear psychologists the team visited Human Resources Development Department (HRDD) of Rivne NPP (Varash, Rivne Oblast).

RNPP HRDD office is located off-site in residential neighborhoods of the satellite city. We are greeted by Galyna Synytsia, Head of RNPP Human Resources Development Department where the NPP psychologists work. Mrs. Synytsia started her career as a full-time psychologist.

We start our communication in the Amber Room — psychophysiological relief room. There are no windows, on the walls we can see pictures not painted but made of amber pieces.

— Here, the operational personnel relieves stress, explains Galyna. On request, in compliance with the schedule, the employees visit the psycho-emotional release room, the psychologist turns off the light, switches on relaxing music and practices psychological relaxation techniques.

It is extremely hard to work in the Main Control Room (MCR). Every command and action involves the responsibility for the safe operation of the power unit.

We visit the room of the Head of the Human Resources Development Department where two psychologists Liudmyla Nogol and Natalia Tyshchenko join our conversation. 

Head of the Human Resources Development Department Galyna Orestivna Synytsia

Galyna, in the Soviet Union the position of psychologist was introduced for the first time in 1982 in Progress Research Laboratory of Moscow State Engineering Physics Institute. The Soviet side studied the accident at American Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant as a result of which the position of psychologist was introduced at USA nuclear power plants this experience was adopted by the USSR. And when the position of psychologist was introduced at the NPPs constructed on the territory of Ukraine?

— In 1989, the Ministry of Nuclear Energy together with the Third Administrative Department of the Ministry of Health of the USSR established psychophysiological examination laboratories (PEL) at NPP training centers. In the same year, PEL psychologists together with the experts from the Institute of Biophysics of the Ministry of Health of the USSR examined 150 people (personnel). This was the first action of psychologists at Rivne NPP.

The goal of examination conducted in 1989 was to perform job specification for senior operational personnel and to identify the risk groups with regard to professional suitability. There were identified four groups we call them occupational adaptation groups and we use this classification by this day.

Workplace of Galyna Synytsia – Head of RNPP Human Resources Development Department

What does each of these groups mean?

— There are different types of examinations, — explains Liudmyla Nogol, psychologist — some of them are used when hiring personnel, others — for operating staff. For example, we chose the electrical service and examine one category of workers — engineers. After examination, we define the occupational adaptation levels. The results of examined personnel are statistically summarized and used to develop and update the so-called population standards.

Separate population standards are set for the staff working in each position and in each service. With the help of these standards we define the groups for occupational adaptation and select personnel. For example, if all results of psychophysiological examination of particular individual are average it means that this individual is average person (golden mean). If the results are higher than average this is the second group of occupational adaptation and if the results are high the first group. If the results are lower than average then we are talking about the third group, and if all results are low the fourth group.

Individuals who belong to the first and second groups of occupational adaptation are recommended to occupy certain position and promotion. We do not recommend individuals who belong to the third and fourth groups for promotion or work.

But, theoretically, can they be hired or are they definitely rejected?

— Theoretically, they can be hired since our conclusion is made in the form of recommendation. But as shows Rivne NPP practice this conclusion works for one hundred percent. There are positions with different levels of responsibility and for each position separate standards are set. If the applicant is not recommended, he will not occupy position of the operational personnel. We stop the employment procedure for this person, explains Galyna.

Liudmyla Nogol, psychologist, performs job specification for RNPP applicants

Can the applicant apply for other position?

— Yes, the applicant can apply for other position, for example, position in engineering or repair service but not for the position of operational personnel.

So, it appears that during selection the applicant gets in contact with NPP psychologist first of all?

— Generally, yes. The first meeting for the applicant for operational personnel position takes place prior to the employment. If the applicant passed job specification and became RNPP employee, then we meet quite often with him in different situations, we have a lot of methods of work with the staff.

In addition, the project “Nuclear School” is implemented at RNPP. This project is envisaged for school graduates, high school students, students of Rivne NPP vocational school. The project involves training, site visits and work with psychologists we use questionnaires, it is simple  testing. That is why, the first meeting takes place with potential candidates who may become RNPP employees one day. The meetings with internship students of universities are also held. We also test these students. If they are fifth- or sixth-year students, this test is considered as recruitment test. Important occupational qualities of mature person of 22-23 years old are unchangeable.

In other words, the individual gets a job at RNPP and works. How often does the individual contact with your department during the work?

— During the first and second years the individual is considered as newly hired employee. He/she undergoes the procedure called management potential development. We examine all the employees to plan their future career. We determine what chances shall undergo a person to take a managerial position. We try to find out whether the person has leadership potential or not. It does not mean that the employee will necessarily become a leader, but in future, considering the development of production and personnel changes, such a possibility exists. The plant has so-called the employee pool (reserve) to which the employee is referred after identification of the leadership potential.

In addition to testing with the help of computer programs, candidates for NPP positions also fill in the questionnaires

It is called the employee database (ED). It is electronic system to which the names of the individuals who refer to the first groups of psychophysiological examination are added. Thus, all newly hired employees, regardless of their position (operational, repair or engineering personnel), get acquainted with us during the first year of the work.

We periodically contact with operational personnel almost until the end of its career at NPP. We conduct psychophysiological examinations at reassignment to another position, group or category upgrading we make a conclusion and give recommendations.

Also, the operational personnel undergoes periodic psychophysiological examination (medical examination) in compliance with the schedule approved by the plant chief engineer. Such examination takes place every three years. We can perform off-schedule examination of the operational personnel if the employee had a work break which made more than six months. Also, on the request of the head of structural subdivision, we examine the personnel in case of occupational disability and anomie against previous professional wellbeing. We examine a person to find out what could cause such state.

What does anomie mean?

— Anomie — this is when the employee was sociable, friendly and then suddenly became private, when his behavior changed. In this situation the psychologists are involved to specify the cause of such changes and tactics of further communication with such an employee. Sometimes the manager can clarify the situation when there are such obvious reasons as, for example, divorce or illness of a member of the employee’s family. And there can be the disorder of occupational and psychological adaptation. Such appeals of managers are rare, but this procedure is envisaged, prescribed and we work with such employees.

From what you say it follows that the range of problems that psychologists deal with at NPPs is the following: determination of psychologic qualification of the candidate for certain position, his occupational adaptation group, management potential and individual monitoring of psychological state. Are there any other areas you are working on?

— Of course. We discussed only the operational personnel! And there is also “non-operational” personnel.

All newly hired employees undergo the leadership potential development procedure. If the employee is planned to be included in personnel reserve, he/she must undergo this procedure.

But reserve is just a reserve, it is second string. When candidate (usually but not necessarily from the reserve) is appointed to certain managerial position, such as the head of the quality assurance department, we examine this candidate and make positive or negative conclusion. In other words, vocational selection procedure (considering psychological characteristics) is also envisaged for candidates recommended to managerial positions. This procedure includes examination, monitoring and admission of candidates prior to their appointment to all positions, including middle managerial positions (heads of subdivisions, their deputies, etc.). Candidates for senior managerial positions do not undergo the leadership potential development procedure. If they have reached the middle level, the decision on their appointment to senior positions is taken by top management based on the results of their previous management activity.

What qualities or character traits are you looking for and what kind of people you screen out during the psychophysiological examination and other stages of personnel selection?

— Operational personnel — personnel which operates the equipment. In other words — “operators”. These are not those who sit in the laboratory and repair something, but those who work with operating equipment and must possess clear psychological characteristics. Despite the intellectual level not everyone can be an operator. Person may be intelligent, great in physics or in other particular type of activity but on personal qualities may not cope with operational service. The objective of the department is to determine human qualities necessary for high responsible work.

Natalia Tyshchenko, psychologist, joins the conversation:

— Our psychophysiological examination includes standard psychotherapeutic methods which help us to determine the following characteristics:

  • professional motivation and mentality to perform position duties and ensure safety;
  • self-discipline and responsibility;
  • self-control, ability to cope with stress situations;
  • cognitive abilities (concentration and attention switching level, memory and logical thinking level, capability to logical analysis at time pressure);
  • data processing speed and accuracy at time pressure;
  • short and long-term memory improvement level.

That is as for cognitive sphere. And also:

  • communication activity;
  • leadership qualities;
  • work capacity at monotonous and stressful work, etc.

The list of qualities is very long. Main criteria for operational personnel selection are the following: sufficient stress resistance and data processing speed under stress, time pressure, intellectual tension and monotony. Monotony is functional state of reduced working capacity which occurs at monotonous work with frequent repetition of stereotyped activity. It causes impaired concentration but still the individual should mobilize the efforts and work effectively and productively.

Examination of the candidate at the reflexometer which demonstrates his reaction to signals

The individual who loses his cognitive abilities under stress cannot take position of the operational personnel. There are a lot candidates with high intellectual rate but they get confused if something happens: equipment failure or abnormal event. And on the contrary, the operator is the one who mobilizes his capabilities in such situations. We select people who will be successful in operational position, whose reaction is fast enough in case of emergency and who can act professionally, analyze the situation and are quick on the uptake, emotionally stable, who can mobilize their subordinates and take correct management and operational decisions.

It turns out that first you need to select personal qualities and then train an individual? Because it seems quite difficult to find a combination of both factors the individual should have the appropriate knowledge and qualities. What is the percentage of such kind of individuals?

— It takes 50 percent. It is sufficient — continues Galyna. — The professionals work everywhere: not only in the operational service but also in repair and analytical services. For example, an individual cannot work in the operational service due to his/her personal qualities but in another department he/she performs his/her duties perfectly well.

We discussed the operational personnel. What occupational qualities shall have the managerial staff?

— I can recall cases when we did not recommend a candidate to occupy the operational position and she was appointed to the position in another service where all these qualities were not required. There she became very successful and even took a managerial position. I do not think that conclusions of psychologists shall be interpreted as a verdict. Not at all, on the contrary. If you cannot be a pilot — be a navigator or a mechanic.

Mrs. Tyshchenko adds to the list of qualities that are mandatory for candidates to managerial positions. These are professional motivation, level of cognitive development, leadership qualities, responsibility, self-discipline, ability to take decisions and work in team, excellent communication skills, stress resistance and ability to preserve cognitive functions in stress situations.

Operational personnel is required to preserve cognitive functions at time pressure. And leaders are required to have additional managerial qualities, ability to take decisions.

— Getting back to operational personnel, — continues Galyna, — we mentioned the teamwork. It is very important for the operator not to be shut-in personality because most tasks require communication and cooperation with colleagues. Individual decision making is the quality of leaders but not much of the operational staff. But still there should be markings of such quality. Then we develop it.

What parameters indicate that individual cannot be recommended? Are there any traits or combination of traits when you realize that individual is not eligible for the vacancy?

— When most of the results belong to the third and fourth occupational adaptation groups. In other words, most results of examination are below the average. To be more specific, the employee does not possess cognitive qualities sufficient to carry out his professional duties. For example, poor memory, poor logical thinking, poor ability to switch attention. We will find out about this and this candidate will not be recommended because due to his physiological and other peculiarities he will not be able to perform this work. The work at the nuclear power plant is difficult and responsible. It requires appropriate occupational training and personal qualities.

Sometimes there are situations when an individual possesses such qualities but has no desire to develop and learn something new. Such option is also a contraindication to work.

— When the candidate is not capable or just does not want to work in team or when he is more of an individualist even if he possesses qualities required for operational position. If, for example, he has negative personal traits: impulsiveness, irritability, inflexibility, inadequate self-esteem, inability to analyze mistakes, high anxiety, suspiciousness, low stress resistance — all this is also contraindication to work, — adds Liudmyla Nogol.

Human factor is one of the root causes of the incidents at NPP power units standing along with causes which relate to documentation and plant equipment operation. For example, in compliance with the SNRIU data the share of incidents due to personnel errors in 2017 made 41% although the following year this share made one third of the abovementioned one. If we take the whole period of 2014-2018, human factor takes the third place among the root causes of operational events. Do the psychologists participate in investigation of such incidents in case when operational event was caused by personnel error?

— Of course. In case of almost all the incidents the psychologists are included in the Investigation Commission even if we only suspect the human factor as the cause of the incident not speaking about personnel error. Later in the course of investigation it may be find out that human factor has nothing to do with the incident. Then we stop the investigation and just record that human factor was not the cause of the incident.

If we find out that human factor caused the incident, then experts of our department investigate the incident deeply and thoroughly: we make official conclusion on investigation and attach it to the official report. Moreover, we investigate both operational events and so-called low-level events (LLE). Of course not all events but only those characterized by not clear and hidden human motives. All significant incidents provoked by individuals are investigated with the involvement of a psychologist. In the point of a fact, two psychologists are involved in investigation to avoid subjectivity.

Top management of RNPP highly appreciates the work of Galyna and her team members  

Does investigation take the form of a conversation with an employee?

— Not always. Psychologists visit the place of incident or, if it is main control room, the simulator. First of all, they study the ergonomics of the place of incident. They study the documentation in compliance with which acted the employee — perhaps the problem is that the procedure is prescribed unclearly or incorrectly. And conversation. We interview the managers, participants of the incident, their colleagues from parallel services. A lot of individual interviews.

Mrs. Synytsia recalls the incident when two employees who worked in high radiation area received higher dose than was envisaged. It happened in spite of the fact that they were provided with individual protection means and the time envisaged for the performance of the task was limited. But during the investigation of causes of the incident the psychologists found out about the following: the workers decided that it was too hot in the room so they took off individual protection means.   

Simulator of VVER-440 main control room which serves for reconstruction of the sequence of personnel actions during investigation of incidents

As for the tools. What methods are used by the NPP psychologists?

— In addition to psychophysiological examination performed with the help of standard psychodiagnostic tests — says Liudmyla Nogol, — there are psychological and psychophysiological tests, questionnaire, computer or reflexometer tests. Also, we study the candidate in the process of work and during the interview. We study his reaction, emotions, behavior. This method is called a psychodiagnostic interviewing.

— In parallel to training we monitor the behavior and reaction of the employee, — says Galyna.

— Thus, training of senior operational personnel is quite effective method to assess personnel behavior and reaction. Psychologists are present during the training, they participate in post-training analysis, give their recommendations for the shift in general and individually for the employees, if necessary. Again, we study the behavior of the employees, whether managers show leadership skills or use error prevention methods or not. All these methods are then combined into one. For example, when one of the employees is recommended for reassignment to another position, in addition to testing results we also have the observation results obtained during training, simulator training, operation, — Mrs. Synytsia summarizes the tools of the department.

How many people work in your department?

— We have two sociologists and five psychologists. It is necessary to have sociologists at nuclear power plants because they perform sociological study of operating teams not only of individuals.

Here is the report on the sociopsychological study of I&C service. The study was conducted in compliance with the schedule, we studied the relations in the team. Let us take a look at different aspects of the team life and compare them with the results of previous study. You can see how the performance indicators have changed. NPP general director and chief engineer analyzed the questionnaires and set the tasks to the leaders emphasizing on what it is necessary to pay attention and what measures should be implemented to eliminate the drawbacks revealed during questionnaire survey.

Is this questionnaire survey anonymous ?

— Yes, anonymous. You can see the table of motivation — first place take salary and awareness of work effect on safety. We use Bondarenko’s Psychological Climate Assessment Scale (scale from -3 to 3). In this subsection — 2.7. The previous one was 2.9. We maintain our database and make calculations. As per today, the plant average rate makes 1.74. It is not bad at this range.

Sociological research is highly appreciated by top management. This information is submitted to the plant top managers and they take corresponding measures. Unfortunately, there were cases when leaders were changed as a result of such questionnaire survey. But generally they are encouraged, additionally trained, assisted to strengthen the lacking qualities.

For more than 15 years, Human Resources Development Department has been carrying out this type of activity. After all these years we gained good reputation, personnel trusts us and realizes that completion of such a questionnaire is additional opportunity to inform the senior management about those problems which personnel faces every day.

— We periodically conduct such surveys in operational units — once every three years — and large-scale survey of the entire plant services every five years, — says Natalia Tyshchenko. — We get acquainted with non-operational personnel. We conduct sociometric study which helps us to determine personal status of every plant employee.

It is a very delicate work, because employees answer the most delicate questions: with whom I would like and with whom I would not like to work, whom I would ask for life advice, and whom I would ask for professional advice, etc.

Look at the graph — it contains the list of names, opposite each name you can see columns and numbers that demonstrate occupational status of a person in the opinion of his/her colleagues, as well as personal relationships — whom would you ask for help, with whom would you like to work in one shift. Here we can see other characteristics: we can see both leaders and outsiders. Also, we set adaptation groups (not occupational adaptation): Group I — the highest, IV — the lowest.


Motivating factor

Estimation (%)

(of the number of all interviewed individuals)


Salary, remuneration



Awareness of work effect on safety



Awareness of responsibility for the performed work



Satisfaction with well done work



Relationships with team members and team environment



Good working conditions



Stable work



Possibility of getting promotion at work



Interesting work



Shift work



Training, upgrade qualifications



Importance of the performed work



Team leader personality, relations with team leader, attitude of the team leader to the personnel



Social benefits



Possibility to take a day off, relieve



Benefit to society



Control by the team leader  



Acknowledgement and appreciation by the team leader  



Benefits for the plant



Work corresponds to my skills



Personal reputation



Punishment by the team leader



Participation in decision making



Public recognition (during meetings, conferences)



Possibility to exchange experience, to train others



Possibility of informal time off (company party, trips)



Work with documentation (office work)


The results of the questionnaire survey of one of the plant subdivisions which show what motivates the employees for work most of all

This report is completely confidential, we show it to the team leader only. And each employee can see only his results. That is, not the names of the employees who selected him but the result — how many other employees chose him for each of the positions. For example, from 20 colleagues, five would like to work with him and three would not.

We specify sociometric status for the employee — what status he has in the team, emotional expansiveness index — to what degree he is involved in the team and employee satisfaction index — to what degree the employee is satisfied with his status in the team. The employee can get acquainted with these results, but again, without comparing them with others. The team leader can see the whole picture.

All confidential reports are stored in safes. We do not hand out the reports, but top management can ask for our opinion, for example, when they want to promote an employee — they what to know his sociometric status. So we give recommendations because we have necessary information.

Recently we can observe constant technical advancement. Computerization has become a standard compared to the 1970s and 1980s when our nuclear power plants were constructed. The human factor share in the sphere of nuclear power plant management and safety assurance decreased. But to what extent is this factor present and important?

— No doubt that human factor negative effect decreased owing to computerization. Computerization reduced the probability of the human error — says Galyna. — But it is not in reason to say that human factor was reduced to zero. Because in certain ranges the whole operation sequence is automated but between these ranges the personnel still effects management, control and inspection procedure and the most important is that personnel participates in management decision making.

Why the automation is so important at NPP? A great amount of equipment is operated at NPP and, for example, to take readings of one valve (equipment piece), the employee used to go to the place of valve installation, check whether the valve is open or shut (there are thousands of such valves at power unit!) and then report to the shift supervisor on the situation. While the employee was walking to the shift supervisor the situation changed (another employee came and shut the valve, first employee could forget something or get something wrong, etc.). Currently, almost all the information about the process equipment is displayed on the computer screen. In other words, the employee, his team leader and shift supervisor can simultaneously see on the computer screen the process diagram showing the state of this equipment. Of course, this minimizes the number of errors, information misinterpretation and speeds up decision-making. 

You have mentioned about the implementation of error prevention methods by the operational personnel. Please, tell us about these methods in more details?

— Man is prone to error, no matter how intelligent and capable a man is. But on the other hand, such industries as nuclear power require from the employee not to make errors. American scientists concluded that the number of errors can be reduced with the help of personnel training. And in extreme spheres — aviation, nuclear energy, etc. — this tool is very important. At RNPP the error prevention methods are used since 2009: study of theory, training of managers, operational staff.

— These are practical tools, — explains Natalia Tyshchenko, — which minimize the number of errors and organizational drawbacks which can also affect the quality of personnel work. We are talking about such practical tools that every employee can use — they do not require additional materials and expenses. Here you can see a list of tools which minimize the human factor impact.

RNPP Human Resources Development Department makes recommendations which allow to reduce the effect of human factor on NPP safe operation with the help of such memos

Some of these tools are mandatory for certain categories of personnel. For example, three-step communication is obligatory for operational personnel during on-line communication. That is, when important command is given, the one who gives the command says, for example: “Switch on K1 pump”, the one who receives the command repeat the command once more before performing the action: “I am switching on K1 pump”, and the one who gives the command says: “Yes, correct. Do it. Or: “Not correct”. Such type of communication is very important especially if we are talking about complex names of equipment or abbreviations.

All these steps are necessary to reduce the number of errors due to incorrect transfer of information, since sometimes the employee can deliberately distort or unconsciously misunderstand the information. And when the information is pronounced, this allows to avoid misunderstandings both on the part of the employee who gives a command and on the part of the employee who receives it.

Three-step communication is mandatory for on-line communication but we recommend using this type of communication during all the communications when strict adherence and clear sequence is important.

Is it obligatory for communication performed with the help of communication means or even for personal communication?

— It is mandatory even for personal communication. Man is too complex system. He can look into your eyes and nod but it does not mean that he understands you properly. For telephone communication, especially when personnel use abbreviations and acronyms, it is recommended to use such communication method as phonetic alphabet. For example, there is a symbol “y” (Latin alphabet letter — “Y”) and everyone pronounces it differently: “Yankee” or “Wai”. Or the pumps are called differently. Or buses: there are four buses ВА, ВВ, ВС and BD. There is generally accepted form how to call these letters, for example, “B” — “Boris”.

Зразок фонетичного алфавіту для телефонних переговорів операторів блочного щита управління

The same situation is with Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Separate marking (phonetic alphabet) was developed for both systems. Operational personnel must know and use this marking to avoid confusion. This is all not only ours but worldwide plant operating experience which we study and consider to prevent the occurrence of significant number of events due to inappropriate information transfer.

The use of STAR principle (Stop, Think, Act, Review) is another error prevention method. To perform any action, you need to stop, concentrate your attention on this action and then act consciously (key turning, button pressing). In other words, you have to realize what you do, what is the purpose of an action and where you act. This error prevention method allows to avoid automatic errors — actions we perform every day as a matter of course, which are routine for us and do not require intellectual effort. But, unfortunately, among the total number of errors, the automatic errors are most numerous. The STAR principle is useful not only for work but also for everyday life.

— We regularly train managers, — adds Galyna, — to give information on error prevention methods including such methods as conduction of staff meetings, issuing of work permissions, etc. We train employees to use special error prevention methods to perform the work. We conduct training with different exercises on simulators where personnel can see how easily one can make a mistake. They think they are saying one thing but actually they say another.

Safety culture notion includes the compliance with standard procedures during performance of any kind of works

First we show very carefully and without rush how easily one can make a mistake and what the consequences will be and then we show how to prevent this mistake. We conduct training to show the nature of the error and later — error prevention method and how to use it.

We developed STAR simulator to use in practice the self-control principle for the employee not only to realize but also to train how to keep attention, not confuse and fix in memory the actions during implementation of routine activity. This is our know-how, it is not available at other NPPs. In 2019 we developed the simulator and in 2020 we started the training. Certain categories of employees have been already trained with the help of this simulator.

Mrs. Synytsia shows us to another room to see the exercises on self-control simulator. We see the simulator control panel with numerous buttons, keys and indicators. The employee can sit or stand while performing the task. The employee has to perform successfully three algorithms using self-control method (STAR principle). Each algorithm is provided with the instruction which specifies what button to press and in what sequence, what key to turn, what signals sound, light follow (or not) the action.

Simulator for working out of STAR principle developed by RNPP experts

— Then we print out the protocol based on which we analyze the mistakes (we always find the mistakes) then we form new algorithm considering the previous mistakes. The employee can make mistakes on simulator but then he can analyze his mistakes himself. Training is considered to be successful when all tasks are completed without mistakes. As a rule, with each iteration the number of mistakes decreases. It takes about two or three hours to train one employee, — explains Galyna.

Error prevention methods are the constituent part of safety culture. And what are other constituents of safety culture?

— This concept is very broad. It includes plant design and management basis. If we talk about safety culture as separate notion, it includes: high degree of responsibility, awareness of the workplace, attention to details, understanding of that insignificant mistake combined with other insignificant mistake can cause big problem. Also an important component is the critical position of the employee, in other words, constant doubt: “Am I acting correctly? Do I use the required equipment? Do I effect the required element?”

In addition, safety culture means acting in compliance with strictly regulated procedures. All works with equipment are provided with procedures, instructions, work programs, etc. The sociability (correct exchange of information) of the employee is additional component of safety culture.

Then, from your point of view and experience, could such employee like Homer Simpson work at nuclear power plant?

— In my professional opinion — no, but he worked there. We did not examine him, maybe his personal qualities were enough to perform such work. But his volatility awakes preoccupations (smiles Mrs. Synytsia).

What is the goal of psychological service activity at nuclear power plant?

— The goal of psychologists is to improve plant employee reserve and personnel qualification, including top managers. We achieve our goals not only by means of selection of highly qualified personnel but also by training of those employees who already work at NPP. We strive for reducing the number of erroneous decisions and making the plant safe and efficient.

We implement a lot of interesting projects. For example, the project “Special Reserve Groups”. These are groups for training of leaders. The employees are engaged in theoretical training, excursions, workshops, development of their own projects. These groups consist of people who have the desire, opportunity and potential. 

And secondly, it is important for us to see that employees attend the job with pleasure, want to work, are proud of it, have the opportunity to develop, make a career, learn something new, implement new methods.

On the one hand, plant safety and reliable operation is very important for us, on the other hand — comfort, including psychological comfort, and staff satisfaction. These two components are crossed over. If the employees attend the plant with pleasure, they make fewer mistakes, work better and improve their skills. So, we have to perform such a two-fold task. And it seems that Rivne NPP succeeds with this task. Editorial Board.