By Nour Eid, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy
The IAEA has launched a Nuclear Supply Chain Toolkit to support countries in coordinating among regulators, technical support organizations, owner/operators of nuclear facilities and their suppliers. The toolkit provides examples, case studies and good practices to help ensure that procurement by nuclear power plants, research reactors and fuel cycle facilities is done efficiently and at high quality. It is intended to assist both nuclear newcomer and operating countries in the use of sound quality and management principles.
“An effective and efficient nuclear supply chain is crucial to the safety and reliability of our nuclear power plant operation,” said a Management Board Advisor at the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia, Zoran Heruc.
Nuclear power plants suppliers need to comply with well-established requirements and have a pool of their own suppliers and subcontractors that supply sub-assemblies, parts and services. These can be challenging to manage, leading to delays and sometimes cost overruns. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the supply chain by introducing longer lead times for new constructions and some major refurbishment projects.
The nuclear supply chain toolkit provides examples, case studies and good practices to help ensure that procurement by nuclear power plants, research reactors and fuel cycle facilities is done efficiently and at high quality.
The toolkit addresses key topics such as: the relation of the supply chain to the management system, ensuring quality in items and services supplied, dealing with counterfeit or suspect items and advanced manufacturing solutions such as 3D printing. The intended audience of the toolkit includes procurement managers, regulatory specialists, suppliers of services as well as systems, structures and components and representatives of international and other organizations involved in quality standards or supply chain sustainability.
“The procurement and contracting process for new nuclear power plants is a complex endeavour and is essential for the success of such projects,” said Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power, Dohee Hahn. “This new toolkit can help our Member States ensure that contracts are efficient, fair and equitable, which is key to the safe, secure and sustainable use of nuclear power.”
The IAEA has several publications on supply chain topics as well as an e-learning course on procurement. The IAEA Nuclear Energy Series includes the recently published Procurement Engineering and Supply Chain Guidelines in Support of Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Facilities in addition to Managing Counterfeit and Fraudulent Items in the Nuclear Industry. The toolkit development was supported by the United States through an IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative project.