Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants – Can Lean Methods Help to Improve the Highly Complex Design and Planning Processes?

Christina Freund1, Fritz and Gehbauer2 & Sascha Gentes3

1Research Fellow, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities, Am Fasanengarten Geb. 50.31, D-76131 Karlsruhe, Germany, christina.freund@kit.edu
2Professor, Director of Institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, fritz.gehbauer@kit.edu
3Professor, KIT, Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Technology and Management for the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities, sascha.gentes@kit.edu

Abstract

In recent years, principles of Lean Management were implemented in a growing number of construction projects with good results in improving of performance. Decommissioning of nuclear power plants requires setting up of a complex process and designing of specialized methods and machines. In this sense it is even more complex than large construction projects. Due to the many laws and regulations (especially concerning safety), decommissioning suffers from time and budget overruns. Therefore, the authors investigated the possibilities of applying Lean Construction methods and tools in the design, permitting, licensing and planning of the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and related facilities. Framework conditions for the implementation are numerous atomic laws and regulations. The research is based on the following hypotheses:  The existing system suffers from time delays and budget overruns; it is not only possible but necessary to improve cooperation and results through applying Lean Management methods.  In the process of executing the first steps of applying Lean, it is possible to overcome obstacles, existing with various stakeholders, for example the fear of losing the independent status of the experts. Evaluating current state of the art led to first steps, such as lowering batch sizes and creating a continuous flow of information and results of design and planning. The research is based on the cooperation with a variety of sources including owner, engineering firms, contractors, experts, ministries and other regulatory agencies. Difficulties and barriers for implementation are discussed, especially ensuring high safety standards while using cooperative methods for project delivery. Recommendations for further implementation and research, especially to fully validate the second hypotheses, will conclude the paper.

Keywords

Lean methods, decommissioning, licensing, stakeholder, cooperation

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Reference

Freund, C. , Gehbauer, F.A. & Gentes, S. 2011, 'Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants – Can Lean Methods Help to Improve the Highly Complex Design and Planning Processes?' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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