EDF aims to excel with 'excell'

16 December 2019

France's EDF has presented a plan - referred to as excell - that aims to drive the country's nuclear industry to achieve "the highest standards of craftsmanship, quality and excellence". The plan will be launched next year, with EUR100 million (USD112 million) earmarked for 2020-2021.

The Flamanville EPR (Image: EDF)

The plan, outlined on 13 December, aims to enhance manufacturing quality, boost skills and tighten governance of major nuclear projects.

In order to improve manufacturing quality, the plan calls for an "in-depth overhaul of the customer-supplier relationship seeking a more balanced risk sharing". It also aims to establish contracts that align with manufacturing standards. EDF also wants to introduce a new supplier qualification scheme for the construction of new reactors. For the most critical operations, it said stricter qualification criteria and record-keeping systems will be used.

EDF plans to establish a university specifically dedicated to nuclear disciplines in order to boost skills within the industry. It will also use a knowledge management system to capitalise on the industry's knowledge and disseminate this within the company's engineering centres. It will also establish diversified career paths for employees within EDF and the industry as a whole, the company said. In addition, the industry will establish a specific plan for hiring and training welders.

In order to tighten governance of major projects, EDF's chairman and CEO will head a strategic committee that will review each project's initial data, set its objectives, costs and timeframes, review associated financial commitments and approve key contracts.

In October, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire released an audit of the construction of the Flamanville 3 EPR, conducted by former PSA Group chief Jean-Martin Folz. In his report, Folz said the commissioning and operation of the EPR reactors in Taishan, China, have demonstrated "the relevance of the concept and design of the EPR". However, he added that improvements in the constructability and reductions in the cost of EPR units should be made without losing the experience gained so far in order for series construction of reactors to resume. Le Maire requested EDF present an action plan to the French government setting out how it will resolve issues, such as skills shortages, that have caused delays and cost increases at new nuclear power plant projects.

"The excell plan is expected to lay the groundwork for a renewal of confidence in France's nuclear industry, as well as to address the challenges described in Jean-Martin Folz's report," said EDF Chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy. "Our aim is to ensure that nuclear power, a carbon-neutral energy source, continues to fulfil its pivotal role in the fight against climate change."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News