May 25, 2007
For Immediate Release
Phil Fisher
(479) 858-4861
(479) 964-6377(pager)
Bonnie Bostian
(315) 349-6681
(315) 341-9141(pager)
Entergy Nuclear Employees Win Three Top Industry Practice Awards

Miami – Entergy Nuclear received three of 14 Top Industry Practice Awards presented this week at the 2007 Nuclear Energy Assembly hosted in Miami by the Nuclear Energy Institute, including the nuclear energy industry’s B. Ralph Sylvia Best of the Best Award for their success in achieving safety enhancements and cost-saving efficiencies throughout the company’s nuclear power plant operations. The employees won for their tiered, team approach to implement improvements leveraging a work culture that empowers employees to achieve excellence in plant operations. TIP awards rank among the nuclear energy industry’s most prestigious recognitions.

ECI Process Used Throughout Entergy Nuclear a Winner

The Entergy Continuous Improvement process originated several years ago at Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and has since been adopted at all Entergy Nuclear sites. ECI is a systematic approach for eliminating waste and achieving better results. The program leverages the talents and expertise of the entire work force to eliminate unnecessary work and waste, improve performance in key areas and make work easier. ECI places in the hands of each employee the power to make lasting change. Senior management does not direct how to make improvements; improvements are decided by employees who actually do the work. The leadership team prioritizes, empowers employees and breaks down barriers to progress.

ECI focuses on processes that waste time, materials and money or prevent taking advantage of opportunities to improve. The program rewards improvements in efficiency, safety and quality. Entergy Nuclear’s ECI gains from last year included: elimination of 290,000 non-value-added labor hours; improved safety at work sites; substantial reductions in cumulative radiation exposure for plant workers; an $8.7 million reduction in operating costs; and $21 million realized from more reliable electricity production.

Entergy’s two other TIP Awards were for innovative use of a submersible, remote-operated vehicle at James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant for inspection of welds inside the reactor; and leveraging use of a wireless network to enhance nuclear operations at Arkansas Nuclear One.

James A. FitzPatrick NPP’s Innovative Use of a Submersible Vehicle

Employees at James A. FitzPatrick NPP partnered with General Electric in fall 2006 during the site’s 17th outage for refueling to develop a creative remedy to perform required weld inspections inside the water-filled cavity of the reactor vessel. Due to multiple interferences that
obstructed accessibility, use of traditional techniques to accomplish these tasks have been excessively expensive, time-consuming and resulted in elevated radiation exposure for workers.

Inspection requirements for detection of possible welding flaws included a combination of both visual examination of welding surfaces and ultrasonic testing to evaluate the status of welds below the surface.

The remedy was to utilize remote-operated, self-propelled submersible technology for delivery of tooling for vessel-weld examinations. The remote-operated vehicle maneuvered around interferences inside the reactor cavity delivering the tooling package to otherwise hard-to-reach locations. Data from exams was digitized and saved for evaluation and comparison to future examination results.

Use of this innovative delivery technique released key equipment needed to perform other refueling outage activities. This helped minimize unit downtime. Expenses to remove interferences were also averted that would have been required using traditional examination techniques. The creative approach used optimized examination coverage and provided data to accurately evaluate the structural integrity of components examined. Innovative application of submersible technology is highly transferable for use at other nuclear sites, which makes it especially valuable to the industry.

Leveraging Wireless Networking Enhances Operations at ANO

Wireless networking at nuclear power plants is not unique; however, extensive use of the technology at Arkansas Nuclear One has resulted in creative, wireless networking applications that are unique.

Low cost and high standards for reliability and security are features of the wireless network implemented at ANO in 2005. Once the network was in place, front-line work crews were trained on the new capabilities and functionality available to them. This resulted in use of wireless technology where it was unavailable previously such as inside reactor buildings and the power block. With this capability in the hands of innovative line workers, creative applications prompted solutions and problems were solved.

Innovative, wireless networking applications are used throughout ANO. Virtually every department has examples of process improvements where the wireless infrastructure was leveraged to improve safety, productivity and process quality and/or to reduce cost. Wireless cameras are used for quick setup to monitor high-radiation areas. This enables workers to remain in low-dose radiation areas while monitoring activities. Plant operators use wireless laptops in conjunction with the plant data server for precise control during local operations.

Entergy Nuclear adopted ANO’s wireless networking design as a corporate standard. Much of the nuclear industry outside of Entergy has since adopted the ANO model as well.

NEI TIP Awards Recognize Innovation

Established in 1994, NEI TIP Awards recognize nuclear energy operators for innovations that improve safety, economics or plant performance. Entergy Nuclear has been honored with 14 awards since the program’s inception. In addition to recognizing outstanding nuclear practices, NEI’s TIP Awards program enables members to share innovations to help build a stronger nuclear energy industry. In this way, TIP Awards provide another avenue to identify and communicate best practices within the nuclear industry.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 14,500 employees.


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