Industry Perspective: Meeting the challenge of increasing operational efficiency and empowering new builds
GSE attended two important Nuclear Industry events recently, The World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris and the USA Executive Summit in Salt Lake City. We’d like to share some of the insights and issues discussed at these events.
The WNE was an impressive event in Paris, with all of the major nuclear power suppliers and key supply chain organizations. Over 600 vendors and 6000 participants attended the 3-day conference. A couple of major themes were common across these two events even though on two separate continents.
Need to improve operational efficiency (i.e. reduce costs) to remain competitive
Lower near term demand for energy and cost pressures from renewables in many markets is putting significant pressure on the industry’s financial makeup. Several single unit plants in the US have decided to shutdown. In response the industry has various initiatives in place. The USA is focusing on gaining operational efficiency through the Nuclear Promise, an industry-led, industry-wide program aimed at reducing operating cost by 30% through efficiencies targeted at areas such as engineering, work management, preventative maintenance, training and other areas. In Europe, utilities are also targeting between 10%-25% cost reductions to remain competitive.
So how will utilities achieve such dramatic improvements in operating cost reductions? One example coming out of the USA Nuclear Promise program is a standardized approach/templates for engineering design and documentation so all vendors use the same templates, driving out cost of doing business, and building consistency of information and documentation. Training and the cumulative impact was another area of focus. The challenge remains to decrease cost and improve human performance, a tall challenge for any industry let alone a high risk industry. Nuclear leaders continually asked that suppliers step up, drive innovation, and support improving their operations and performance.
In Europe, Areva uses its network of over 1000 Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to solve problems and provide real innovation to accomplish the power generation mission while driving out costs.
In China, cost reductions are being realized through economies of scale. By deploying the right combination of mature and advanced technologies and constructing plants in batches, utilities are able to optimize development and construction costs.
New Build Challenges and Ideas:
It was widely recognized that in order to meet the carbon reduction goals set through international treaties and commitments, nuclear power will still need to play an important role in the energy mix and that means new plant construction. However, in certain markets, the lack of growth in nuclear has led to a loss of experience throughout the supply chain. Managing large, complex projects with the safety and quality requirements of nuclear power has been a challenge throughout the nuclear supply chain. Emphasis was placed on workforce development to address both the turnover of personnel and the need for deeper, higher quality talent across all members of the supply chain.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) can play a critical role in the growth of nuclear power as a clean energy source. William Magwood, General Director of Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD) reminded us that SMRs need a certain volume of business to be viable. Mr. Magwood suggested that to promote a wide spread adoption of the technology we should harmonize codes and standards across countries to reduce the spend of hundreds of millions in developing regulations around SMRs.
GSE’s Simulation Technology Selected to Support Human Factors Research and Operational Excellence
The Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), an international energy and nuclear technology research foundation, has licensed the GSE
GPWR simulation technology
to support human factors research at the OECD Halden Reactor Project. Specifically, IFE will use GSE’s full-scope high-fidelity simulation technology, training materials and full procedure set at HAMMLAB, an international center for research into human performance supporting utilities and regulatory bodies from twenty countries worldwide. In addition to providing simulation software technology, GSE will collaborate with IFE/Halden to develop next generation human-machine interface applications to improve nuclear plant operations and training.
In addition to IFE, North Carolina State University and a government-led research laboratory also recently have licensed the GSE GPWR simulation software together with GSE’s VPanel® glass-top simulator to display the simulation software. North Carolina State University’s nuclear engineering department will utilize the solution to educate and train students on a simulated operational nuclear power plant. “The application of GSE’s GPWR simulation technology in the university setting will help students gain a real world operational understanding of nuclear power principles and provides a research platform to meet the growing demands for improved nuclear plant performance. The application of a high-fidelity simulation for experimentation and method development in the university setting aligns with North Carolina State University’s goals to provide students and partners with real world application insights and the simulator allows us to do that with speed,” said Dr. Kostadin Ivanov, Department Head for Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University.
Read the full press release here.
Software Updates: Now it’s easier than ever to update to JADE 4.4
With the release of JADE 4.4.1. in June, it is now possible to choose which JTopmeret version you want to use to generate your model code! This new option allows you to take advantage of all of the usability improvements of the latest JADE release without the hassle of retesting existing simulator models.
At a time of your choosing, such as when making a plant modification, each individual system can be updated to the latest code generator and you’ll only have to retest that system.
Thanks to our software team for a great release!
Contact Us for a more comprehensive list of product enhancements and/or a product demo.
EnVision™ Updates Demos
Contact Us for a more comprehensive list of product enhancements and a product demo.
Emmett A. Pepe Appointed as Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Pepe brings to GSE 30 years of experience in finance management, with strong leadership skills and expertise in financial reporting, international accounting operations, systems integration, internal controls and process improvements, across a variety of business sectors with a focus on the software and telecommunications industries. He will succeed Jeff Hough, who will be pursuing other interests, after a successful transition of the Company’s systems and controls to Mr. Pepe.
Mr. Pepe joins GSE from MicroStrategy, Inc., a company focused on business intelligence, big data, and mobile identity solutions, where he served as the Senior Vice President Finance and Worldwide Controller overseeing financial activities for the company including accounting, financial reporting, tax and treasury. Prior to MicroStrategy, Inc., Mr. Pepe held the position of Vice President Accounting and Corporate Controller at BroadSoft, Inc., a software and services company that enables telecommunications service providers to deliver hosted, cloud-based unified communications to their enterprise customers, where he was responsible for overall global accounting, SEC reporting, tax, treasury, human resources and facilities. Mr. Pepe was part of the executive management team that took the company public in 2010. Prior to BroadSoft, Inc., he held senior finance management positions with various companies including Software AG, webMethods, Inc., British Telecom Inc., Concert Communications Company and MCI Communications Corporation.
Mr. Pepe earned his BS in Accounting from Penn State University, is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Virginia, and is a member of American Institute of CPAs and the Virginia Society of CPAs.
Read the full press release here.
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