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After more than 30 years in operation, Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant, Switzerland’s largest nuclear power plant (Boiling Water Reactor) decided in 2013 to replace its two existing MSRs (Moisture Separator Reheaters). Leibstadt chose GE Power for the replacements in part due to its technology expertise around MSRs and customer satisfaction around past retrofit projects.
This project presented several initial challenges:
- The retrofit needed to be incorporated into a design that was not only 30 years old, but quite complicated.
- A number of parties were involved, including the Notified Body (NoBo), who needed to approve an enormous number of design and manufacturing documents.
- Many MSR components and parts needed to be created for the first time, requiring extensive efforts during both the manufacturing and design processes.
- Finally, the entire design, document approval, material procurement, manufacturing processes—and the transport to Leibstadt Power Plant had to be completed and accomplished prior to the plant’s next scheduled outage, which took place between 3Q and 4Q 2017.
Additionally, the above issues were dealt with by GE locations in three different countries (Switzerland, France, and Portugal), which presented an additional set of logistical challenges.
GE dispatched a team of experts consisting of designers, quality, manufacturing and project management from all three GE locations to ensure success. By forming measurable objectives, action plans, and strategies for success, the team was able to define milestones for the project.
Such a complex design and different players, organizational success was critical. Working as a team, GE was able to:
- Expedite the manufacturing by establishing close cooperation between the design team and the factory in Portugal.
- Schedule regular visits to the factory to support manufacturing activities—resulting in faster, more efficient decision-making.
- Create lean processes to shorten the document-approval processes without jeopardizing the quality of the documents or the manufacturing work.
- Most importantly, involving the customer in decision-making processes every step of the way.
Thanks to unprecedented teamwork and cooperation sustained by enormous effort and dedication from both GE and Leibstadt all objectives and milestones were achieved. The MSR halves were delivered on-time, along with all design and quality documents, and were successfully installed within the expected timeframe. Almost 300 people worked together onsite to ensure the power plant came back to operation on time.
Dr. Andreas Pfeiffer, Plant Manager from Nuclear Power Plant Leibstadt (KKL) remarked after delivery, “It was a pleasure to work together with GE again. Bringing the MSR project to this first important manufacturing milestone was made possible due to very enthusiastic and highly motivated GE and KKL team members. To install the component in such a challenging environment and time frame was only possible thanks to the personal dedication of the team members.”
Peter Graf, the MSR-Project Manager echoed Pfeiffer’s sentiments: “Although a very challenging project, thanks to integrated teamwork and continued performance from both sides, all these issues were overcome and the 4 MSR halves arrived as planned at the end of March 2017 and were installed in the major outage of the same year.”