UK Nuclear Project Needs Better Supply Chain Management - Regulator

Reuters, March 16, 2018

A nuclear plant project in southwest England has made good progress in supply chain management, but some improvements are needed before construction accelerates, an inspection has found. Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) examined the supply chain arrangements for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project in light of falsification issues at one of the plant’s key suppliers – Fromatome’s Creusot Forge in France. The Creusot Forge foundry stopped production last year following the discovery of manufacturing flaws and the falsification of manufacturing tracking documentation. Inspectors scrutinised how robust the site licensee NNB GenCo’s arrangements are for ensuring the quality of Hinkley Point’s structures, systems and components. The inspection took place in the early stages of construction.

Overall, ONR is broadly satisfied with the enhanced management system arrangements at Areva Creusot Forge,” it said in a report.

The inspection team concluded that Areva and NNB GenCo had made good progress in deploying their improvement programme and had enhanced their manufacturing processes, management system arrangements and the facility’s nuclear safety and quality culture,” it added.

However, the inspection was rated “amber”, meaning some arrangements are below standard and improvements need to be made. For example, evidence was not provided to demonstrate how NNB GenCo had learnt from the failings at Creusot Forge and communicated to contractors. NNB GenCo’s own supply chain improvement programme needs further development to make sure it is prioritised and better aligned to the project’s schedule, the ONR said.

Robust independent inspection by the regulator helps to ensure that we and our suppliers maintain the highest standards of safety and quality,” an EDF Energy spokesman said.

EDF Energy is already implementing measures where improvement is required ahead of an increase in construction and manufacturing activities,” he added.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Evans)

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