With conventional installation methods, the planned audit of the nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, southern Sweden, would have taken up to five months. This was a major concern due to a power generation loss of that scale would result in losses of many millions. The solution involved developing a ground breaking approach that more than halved downtime.
In 2014, Oskarshamn conducted a thorough audit of the plant’s third reactor. Milk – the largest sub-project by a considerable margin – was an integral part of the entire process.
Dunder Milk, some 1,600 cables inside the reactor containment were to be replaced. In addition, all cable grommets – where cables are laid through the reactor containment walls – were to be upgraded, and a new leakage monitoring system installed. In the reactor building, 400 components and junction boxes were due to be replaced and all electrical and mechanical fittings inspected.
“This was a complex job for many reasons,” says Claes-Göran Wörmke at OKG, who was project leader for the renovation. “We had 300 people working in a limited space in the reactor containment; we wanted to cut working hours by half compared to a conventional installation, and when every day of delay would result in considerable costs, nothing can go wrong.”
An impossible project
Claes-Göran says that what was done was thought to have been impossible. Experts said that it was not possible to conduct an audit as quickly as possible, while at the same time ensure safe working conditions and reactor safety.
“But it went perfectly. A considerable degree of this success was down to LearningWell helping us develop a new logistics system where all work and material was broken down into small batches. This meant that we could look at things such as detailed planning, contract manufacturing and finally assembly in entirely new ways.”
Göran Larsson was project leader and agile coach at LearningWell. He remembers the project as an enjoyable stress test that clearly showed the value of agile projects.
“Throughout the process, system development was just one step ahead of what the users needed. Huge amounts of time can be saved on projects like these. We could build functions we talked about and let the users test them immediately, and then make rapid changes based on the feedback we received.”
Security the biggest benefit
Claes-Göran says that there’s always some sort of accident or incident when you have hundreds of people going in and out of the reactor containment. The unique aspect of this project was that OKG completed it without any major incident.
“This time, staff carried tablet devices instead of binders when they worked inside the reactor containment. If a blueprint was missing, or additional assembly support was needed, personnel had direct contact with support staff on the outside who could resolve issues as they emerged. This meant that we avoided the disruptive running to and fro, which in turn saved time and reduced the number of incidents.”
Claes-Göran adds that this approach also reduced the radiation dose that personnel were exposed to because they were inside the reactor containment for considerable shorter periods than usual.
At the end of June 2014, OKG submitted its final report to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, at which point, all electronics and all new cabling had been installed. The audit had been completed on time and without incident, and had taken a mere 62 days, which generated enormous savings compared to the original plan.
“We’ve attracted a great deal of recognition and praise for how we carried out the project,” says Claes-Göran. “Clear proof of how well the project went is that I’ve had several discussions with representatives from Sweden’s other nuclear power plants. When facing their own Milk projects, they want to know more about how we were able to achieve what everyone thought was impossible.”
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Peter Karlsson, CEO East
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