It’s an interesting time to be in the nuclear energy industry. America’s nuclear power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon-free electricity, provide well-paying jobs and support their local communities. Yet, several reliable nuclear plants have closed in the past few years because of economic challenges driven in part by low-cost natural gas generation.
To address these challenges, the nuclear energy
industry launched Delivering the Nuclear Promise (DNP) last year, a three-year initiative leveraging industry best practices to achieve effective, even safer operations. Working groups from across the nuclear industry are identifying actionable enhancement opportunities for nuclear plants to implement across the country.
“The entire industry is working together to identify opportunities to be more efficient,” said Tom Natale, fleet coordinator, Delivering the Nuclear Promise. “This gives us the ability to do things the same way, and to achieve our biggest wins.”
Across Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet, 150 employees participated on various DNP teams in 2016.
Duke Energy has created the Duke Nuclear Advantage program to take DNP one-step further. This program focuses on the entire nuclear team down to the individual by soliciting efficiency suggestions and involving employees through implementation.
“As DNP is implemented within the company, we are seeking additional opportunities and solutions to further advance safety and improve operations across our nuclear fleet,” said Chuck Morris, general manager, Duke Nuclear Advantage. “Our plants achieved record generation in 2016 and reliability is strong, however, we have to constantly look for better ways to plan and implement our work.”
“We have engaged all of our employees in this process and their ideas, submitted through our Take Action tool, have already led to many improvements. In fact, more than 230 Take Action ideas have been submitted, with more coming in each week. These ideas are critical to continuing our momentum for sustaining operational excellence and keeping our nuclear fleet viable with other energy sources,” said Morris.
Duke Energy’s philosophy embraces nuclear energy as an essential part of America’s energy security and an ideal generation source that provides greenhouse gas emission-free energy to its customers.
“Our focus is to remain an integral part of the communities where we operate and ensure safe, carbon-free nuclear generation remains an important resource for meeting our customers’ energy needs,” added Morris. “Nuclear energy has served our customers well for more than 40 years and we want that to continue well into the future.”