Duke Energy Among Who’s Who of the Nuclear Industry’s Most Innovative

TIP2016This week, Duke Energy was honored with a Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Top Innovative Practice (TIP) award. A team from Duke Energy went home with an award for successfully streamlining in-processing of contract workers for refueling outages.

During a typical nuclear plant refueling outage, an additional 700-1,000 contract workers are brought in to help complete the many jobs involved in refueling and maintenance activities. Before workers get to the nuclear plant, they go through in-processing, which includes security screening, specialized training and testing, to receive access for the outage.

The Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility in Kings Mountain, N.C., serves as Duke Energy’s central point where all incoming contract workers for refueling outages report for in-processing before going to a nuclear plant.

Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility in Kings Mountain, N.C.
Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility in Kings Mountain, N.C.

Thanks to the efforts by the award-winning team, the average in-processing time went from more than five days per worker to a predictable and reliable four workdays for new workers and two workdays for returning contract workers, resulting in substantial time and cost savings.

Current in-processing cycle times at Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility
Current in-processing cycle times at Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility

To accomplish this, the team focused on four main areas:

  • Process: The overall worker cycle time was reduced by improving and streamlining processes from check in to check out.
  • Training: The right training for the right worker at the right time was established, consolidating training while ensuring regulatory compliance and safety
  • Technology: Duke Energy’s Worker Identification System & Evaluation (WISE) ID represents the industry’s first use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track worker progress through in-processing, which helps ensure workers stay on-track with their in-processing itinerary.
  • Employee Engagement: Process champions at Kings Mountain drove program execution, helping make the optimization effort successful.

Transferable new practices, like the one successfully implemented at Duke Energy’s Kings Mountain Generation Support Facility, help set the standard of excellence across the nuclear industry.

Congratulations to all the TIP award winners for coming up with innovative solutions to keep the nuclear energy industry successful.