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Navigating for Excellence

Point Lepreau's journey to excellence following a large scale refurbishment project
Gaëtan Thomas, CEO, New Brunswick Power

Gaëtan Thomas, CEO, New Brunswick PowerAfter a challenging and lengthy $2.4 billion (CND) refurbishment project, Point Lepreau generating Station (PLGS) recently completed its first year of operation.

Modifications made during the project improved safety margins and enabled a plant life extension of up to 30 years; however, during nearly five years of ​shutdown for refurbishment, the station was internally-focused and fell behind the industry in terms of current best practices. For this reason, re-engaging with the industry and establishing a culture of excellence has been a priority since restart.

The transition from project status to an operational station was assisted by a combined effort from PLGS staff, support of the Canadian nuclear industry and, in particular, assistance from WANO.

A WANO pre-startup peer review prepared the site for online operation by showing the team what had changed in the industry during shutdown. That set the scene for the development of a plan called Navigating for Excellence; a top-to-bottom review, by a new leadership team, which identified the activities that demanded immediate attention. Using safety culture as its foundation, the plan contains five action areas: safety, human performance, equipment reliability, training and development, and value for money.

In addition to the pre-startup peer review, WANO conducted a station peer review in autumn 2013 as well as a corporate peer review in December 2013. Both provided a valuable "check and adjust" on the Navigating for Excellence plan, all within a year of the reactor restart.

The corporate peer review was an inaugural one for NB Power, revealing opportunities to draw the ​corporate organisation closer together with the PLGS team and solidify systems to improve oversight of nuclear operations.Point Lepreau Generating Station (PLGS)

WANO contributions throughout the past 18 months have proved invaluable and are a great working example of the important role WANO plays in the modern context of the global nuclear industry.

NB Power is an active member of WANO, working with staff at the WANO Atlanta Centre to support and participate in peer reviews as well a​s technical support missions. This is proving critical in helping to paint the current picture of excellence to staff. 

From personal experience, we are a better nuclear utility because of WANO's continued support and input.  We are WANO – and the investment that we put in, the support for peer reviews and so forth, we get back manyfold.​

We are Navigating for Excellence and WANO is beside us to help us get there.​​​​​