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Achieving Excellence at the Borssele Nuclear Power Plant

Carlo Wolters, Director of EPZ, explains to Inside WANO why his plant has become a pilot for Action for Excellence, and outlines the major benefits for his organisation. 

I’m Carlo Wolters, Director of EPZ, the nuclear operator in the Netherlands. We run the Borssele unit that was commissioned in 1973. Our motto is: ‘either we work safe or we don’t work at all’. 

Some years ago, our plant reliability was too low, and outages were delayed. This was resulting in very low availability, and the WANO index declined. Over recent years, we focused mainly on leadership and human performance and meanwhile our performance is up again, but we want to improve further. 

In November 2019, I visited three WANO member organisations that improved their results tremendously - from not so good to excellent. In my opinion, what these units have in common is to all focus on performance, continuously benchmarking with other units and benefiting from a strong support from its regional centre. What I especially liked was the benchmarking of leading indicators in Maintenance, Work Management, Operations and Engineering. 

When you know how your performance is ranked to others, you know where to improve. For sure if people recognise these gaps, they will find solutions for closing these gaps, and if needed you can find support from your regional centre or peers. I think this is really unique in the nuclear sector and we should use this strength. For me, this is the basis for Action for Excellence (AfE) and therefore the reason that we decided to volunteer to become a pilot plant. 

My expectation is that the enhanced performance monitoring will provide us with valuable information on our leading indicators within Work Management, Maintenance, Operations and Engineering compared to other stations. And with the known differences, to the best performers, we are able to improve and sustain at best performance levels. 

The climate for nuclear is good in the Netherlands and our ambition is to add two more units at our site. Being a sound operator, and in my opinion, WANO will help us in achieving our goals. The AfE initiative will enable us to do this.