GC Side Event: 3rd Nuclear Operator Organizations Cooperation Forum

DDG-NE Mr Bychkov and Chair Mr Sokolov with panellists and IAEA experts at the side event

19 September 2013 | Advanced approaches to construction management were the focus of this year’s Nuclear Operator Organizations Cooperation Forum, held at the IAEA today. The Forum, organized for the third time during an IAEA General Conference by the Department of Nuclear Energy, is part of the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

Mr Yury A. Sokolov, Vice President of Rosatom Overseas, Russian Federation, chaired the event and also spoke about advanced approaches to construction optimization and management for nuclear power plants in Russia. Other keynote speakers included Mr Philippe Leigné, Director of EPR’s Feedback Project, EDF, France; Mr Tae Eun Jin, Vice President of KEPCO Engineering and Construction, Republic of Korea; and Mr Myron Kaczmarsky, Senior Director of CB&I, USA.

“The owner or operator plays a key role in the project management of nuclear power plant construction” said Mr Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Nuclear Energy Department. Several past nuclear plant construction projects have encountered construction quality problems. This is considered to be partly due to organizations’ lack of understanding of the special requirements for nuclear power plant construction.

Although contractual arrangements and organizational responsibilities for current nuclear construction projects may differ from the past, the requirements must still be carefully addressed to ensure an appropriate construction infrastructure and a quality assurance programme for the construction. 

The panellists spoke about good practices and challenges in construction management, and emphasized the need for continuous improvements in the following areas:

  • Strong leadership, project management, and oversight of construction activities;
  • Early initiation of site-specific engineering/construction planning;
  • Control over supply chain development;
  • Effective use of knowledge and skills to advanced construction management and technologies;
  • Comprehensive configuration management;
  • Training and availability of skilled workers and technicians; so on-site training programmes are essential;
  • Verification of equipment installation;
  • Maintenance of a safe work environment.

In addition, a robust integrated management system including a quality assurance programme and extensive inspections of the construction will be required. It is also essential to train technicians and workers in the above areas before construction of the nuclear power plant begins.

The keynote speakers suggested that the IAEA increases its interactions and strengthens cooperation with nuclear power plant owner/operators and other stakeholders in the nuclear industry. They also emphasized the role of operating organizations and other stakeholders in the nuclear industry in the development of safe and sustainable nuclear power plants.

The 4th Nuclear Operator Organizations Cooperation Forum will be held next year during the 58th IAEA General Conference.

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