Management of the nuclear supply chain

Nuclear operators and managers depend on chains of suppliers of both products and services to be able to produce nuclear energy. These suppliers provide products and services in all phases of a reactor’s life cycle: design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning.

Effective and efficient oversight of the global nuclear supply chain is crucial in both nuclear new build and operating nuclear facilities.

The successful implementation of management of quality, as a part of a power plant’s management system, including quality assurance and quality control, is essential in providing confidence in the nuclear industry. A high degree of reliability and integrity is required of products and services. Failure of structures, systems or components to perform their intended function, or resolve their poor performance, could adversely affect the economy as well as safety and confidence in nuclear energy.

The IAEA supports the development of proactive management systems of supply chains, well-planned procurement by the owners and operators, quality assurance/quality control systems and aims to facilitate co-operation in the nuclear industry in these areas.

This includes supporting Member States and nuclear operating organizations in dealing with supply chain challenges. In recent years, both the construction and operation of nuclear power plants have experienced difficulties related to their supply chains. There have been project delays and even temporary shutdowns of reactors due to detection of counterfeit items, obsolescence of original technology and licensing to incorporate a greater amount of digital instrumentation and control technologies. At the same time, new technologies such as advanced manufacturing and remote inspection provide avenues for improved sustainability.

In some countries, some original equipment manufacturers have left the marketplace while operators in other countries have faced difficulties in setting up new, localised supply chains. 

The IAEA’s work in this area has been financially supported by the United States through the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) for quality and management system aspects of nuclear procurement engineering and supply chains

Stay in touch