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
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
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
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.
Entergy’s online address is www.entergy.com