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28.07.2020 Our people

Boss of the NPP Personnel Training Centre, Peter Drobný: In VUJE People Are Given the Opportunity to Grow

PETER DROBNÝ has replaced the long-time boss Ruben Vidlička, who has retired, at the position of a Director of the NPP Personnel Training Centre. With what feelings has he taken the position after him? What innovations has he given the green light and why is the 1st May his destiny date?

Boss of the NPP Personnel Training Centre, Peter Drobný: In VUJE People Are Given the Opportunity to Grow

Many employees have been working at VUJE for decades. What was your journey to the company?

I studied at the Faculty of Materials Science and Technology in Trnava, Department of Mechanical Technologies. Right after graduating, my journey led to the nuclear power plant in Jaslovské Bohunice, where I started working as a diagnostics technician at both V1 and V2 Nuclear Power Plants, which were still in operation at the time. During 5 years in this position, I got to know both power plants really well.

This was your first contact with the nuclear. At that time, you were still employed at Slovenské elektrárne.

Yes, however, I was trained for the category II right here, at the Training Centre. At that time, I never dreamed that one day I would work at VUJE and that I would be the director of the mentioned division. I was lectured by my current colleagues. Later, however, I changed the industry and worked at PSA Peugeot Citroen.

You learnt there to speak fluently French.

I attended a two-month intensive language course and after that I went to France for a half a year for special automotive training. When I returned, I was starting the production in the PSA company as a control system engineer. I was using French daily. After three years working on this project, I was given an offer by VUJE and I agreed.

How did the company VUJE persuade you to work for them?

I was offered a job on the project of a full-scale simulator of the classic power plant Vojany 1 and 2. It was developed with special software of the French company Corys. I was experienced in energy, I knew the principles of a power plant operation, plus I can speak French, therefore the project was interesting to me. In addition, I like projects to be dynamic. I am not a person who enjoys routine. I started to work for VUJE, a. s. on 1st May 2007 and I would like to highlight this date because it is my destiny date. It is the date of my birth and, on 1st May, I was also appointed the Director of the NPP Personnel Training Centre.

What does VUJE mean to you?

As I have already mentioned, I came to VUJE to work on a project. I thought I will work here for two or three years and then I will move on. But I have stayed. It is a company which I trust, and I am glad I was hired in 2007. I like the fact that people in VUJE are given opportunity to grow. My case illustrates this pretty well.

Which of your projects are you proud of in this company?

Definitely an upgrade of our V2 NPP full scope simulator. It was really a large project lasting more than 4 years. Within this project, my company sent me to USA where I attended a two-month training for a special calculation code called THOR simulating the whole nuclear power plant hydraulics. Thanks to this, today we have in VUJE a high-tech simulator at a world level. It belongs to the portfolio of the NPP Personnel Training Centre and we operate it for our client SE, a. s.

What other activities does your division provide?

It has 44 employees and it provides our clients a very broad portfolio of activities. The biggest scope is the professional training of nuclear power plants personnel. In addition to operating the simulator our lecturers also provide training on the simulator, so we also provide theoretical training of NPP personnel. This part of training is provided by theoretical training lecturers. High professional demands are placed on these professions. I must say that these are people who achieved the highest level of education in the field of nuclear energy, but also in the entire energy sector.

We also have a team of software and hardware engineers who operate and maintain the simulator in compliance with a nuclear power plant which is the basic prerequisite for obtaining the license for its operation. A simulator must be a true copy of the one in the nuclear power plant or if any change is made or a technological system is added our software engineers must simulate it.

We also develop electrical and distribution network simulators and provide training for electrical and distribution network operators and dispatchers, as well as training for operation electricians. In addition, we operate a training centre for works under voltage.

You did not feel like giving this interview a year ago. You said you need time to get acquainted. Now I have the feeling that this position is just right for you.

Before I became a director, I had been working as a project manager for Mochovce 3&4 simulator upgrade. This power plant is under construction, however you need to have a running simulator. Its professional personnel and the control room personnel must be ready. As SE, a. s. lacked having enough staff to manage this project it was managed externally. In the meantime, my predecessor went to retire, and I was chosen by the company's management to replace him. It was very hectic, because at the same time I had to go to Mochovce every day to pass information to my colleague and in the meantime, I took over this position. I admit that when I took up the position, it was with great respect and a feeling of great responsibility. It took me a while to get acquainted, I got to know people which I meet every day now, however, after more than a year, I can say that I have handled this challenge and it is time to move forward.



What are your goals?

The training centre is 40 years old and thanks to my colleagues it works as a perfect gear in the area of personnel training. The clients are satisfied as well. The nuclear power plant personnel training has its system and it is managed on a top level. We have been long on the market, though. Therefore, I have set a new goal of innovating and finding a new area in which we have not made use of so far. These are various online applications through which we can do trainings, e-learnings and testing programmes. We have already started development in this field, but in the meantime, we have been hit by the coronavirus crisis. However, the crisis contributed to the development of my idea in this area.

So this unexpected situation has moved you forward.

Exactly. We started to use e-learning applications and we are successful. Some of the applications are already available and our students do not have to come to the centre in person, but they can educate themselves via computer or notebook. It is not a full replacement for trainings, but it is more than appropriate for maintaining knowledge, competencies and skills. We also provided our clients with online lectures for students who stayed at the "home office" when our training centre was closed due to corona crisis. It has opened our eyes and we are already starting to think that we will offer some trainings online. Every crisis offers new solutions and innovations. It taught me that I have to be persistent, convince people, and in the end it can bring positive results.