Beri, Bhisham K. (1989, ASQC) Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
The objective of Quality Improvement Planning for Nuclear Power Plant Components is to optimize safety and performance with due consideration to cost and schedule. The way for achieving this objective is essentially a three step process: 1) Establishing the correct requirements; 2) Setting up controls to ensure that the established requirements are met; 3) The continuous evaluation of the first two steps to ensure that they yield maximum satisfaction with least cost and schedule penalties to society.
The parties representing society are primarily state jurisdictions, the customer (usually the plant owner or its representative the system designer) and the component manufacturer. Within the nuclear industry each one of them has established responsibilities. If the objective for Quality Improvement is to be achieved then the process for it must proceed with clear understanding of each other's requirements. Technically the jurisdictional requirements are defined in the adopted codes and standards, the customer's requirements are defined in the Design and Product Specifications, the manufacturer's requirements are detailed in Manufacturing and Inspection Plans, procedures and drawings. Each party also sets up its own Controls to ensure conformance to the requirements. For example jurisdictions control Authorized Inspection and Registration of Designs; the customer performs auditing, surveillance and review of manufacturer's systems, procedures and operations; the manufacturer has its own Quality Assurance and controls for its operations.
This paper presents a Quality Improvement planning process that utilizes a planned review and analysis of the applied codes, standards, specifications and the controls and their outputs in order to determine issues and programs that present worthwhile opportunities for improvements. To illustrate and discuss this process, typical plans for some significant areas and functions are presented.
The first step in formulating a Quality Improvement Plan is to determine significant areas and activities that will present opportunities for improvements and savings. For Nuclear Pressure Retaining Components ASME code Section III groups requirements under several important functions, namely Materials; Design; Fabrication; Examination & Tests; and Quality Assurance. The plans presented in this paper are based on these five important functions and are developed to cover some significant activities for each one of these functions. The significance is judged on both the contribution of these activities to the safety and performance criteria as well as cost and schedule. The next step is to list requirements and controls for each activity and to collect related operational reports, records and procedures.
The designated Quality Improvement Team then proceeds to analyze the requirements, controls and related reports, records and procedures. This process is aimed at discovering existing as well as potential problems and finding solutions and programs for corrective actions. In doing so it utilizes any necessary engineering and management tools and justifies corrective actions in terms of risks and benefits and its impact on Quality of Components.
Several examples of how some of the Quality Improvement programs are initiated using these plans are discussed. Though the plans presented in this paper illustrate functions and activities usually associated with the Pressure Retaining Nuclear Power Plant Components, the optimization process and advantages are universal and similar Quality Improvement Plans can be developed for other components.