Combining Energy

Nuclear Power Projects Have Their Share of Risks That a Collaborative, Cross-Organizational Approach Can Mitigate



Managing risks on a nuclear power project is a daunting prospect. Safety is paramount, but project professionals also must cope with environmental, budget, schedule and quality risks. One strategy for managing all these risks is to collaborate with other organizations in similar situations.

We are using this approach on my current project, Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Darlington Refurbishment, which launched in 2016. This CA$12.8 billion, 10-year megaproject will extend the life of the Darlington nuclear power plant's four nuclear reactors by 30 years.

Share Your Thoughts

No one knows project management better than you, the project professionals “Getting It Done.” So every month, PM Network shares your expertise on everything from sustainability to talent management, and all project topics in between. If you're interested in contributing, email [email protected].

Risk Reactor

We are managing this project's risks in part by sharing lessons learned and best practices with representatives of two other nuclear power plants that have the same reactor design. This cooperation reduces the chance that one organization will overlook a key threat and allows all three organizations to take advantage of opportunities they might have overlooked. Employees from the three companies hold frequent conference calls and face-to-face meetings to share how their respective teams are managing risk and overcoming challenges.

In addition, project team members from one of the organizations, Canada's Bruce Power, have spent months at a time with OPG, working alongside the Darlington project teams. Having more experts on the project increases the chances of identifying potential problems that could have been overlooked and helps to mitigate any potential cost or schedule impacts to the critical path. In addition, project teams at Bruce Power have shared with OPG lessons learned from a previous reactor project. This allowed OPG teams to better understand the potential risks that could occur when Darlington's reactor vault was opened.

Resource Fission

With Bruce Power launching its own project in 2016, a 16-year, CA$13 billion initiative to extend the life of its reactors in Ontario, Canada, both projects face a high risk of not having enough specialized tradespeople. So the two organizations have been working together to align schedules and reduce potential shortages. This type of collaboration is crucial for both reactor refurbishments—without it, each project likely would suffer cost overruns and schedule delays. In addition, both organizations jointly researched other large projects happening across the province during the same period to understand their potential impact on resource availability.

Collaboration with competing organizations is usually frowned upon. But just as breaking down silos in an organization can lower risk, knowledge sharing with other organizations can too. Understanding alternative processes and sharing lessons learned can promote continuous improvements on both sides. Most importantly, cross-organizational collaboration can reduce projects’ costs and shorten schedules while increasing overall safety and quality. PM



img Joe Campa, PMI-PBA, PMI-RMP, PMP, is risk lead specialist, nuclear refurbishment, Ontario Power Generation, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.



Related Content

  • Project Management Journal

    Identifying Subjective Perspectives on Managing Underground Risks at Schiphol Airport member content locked

    By Biersteker, Erwin | van Marrewijk, Alfons | Koppenjan, Joop Drawing on Renn’s model and following a Q methodology, we identify four risk management approaches among asset managers and project managers working at the Dutch Schiphol Airport.

  • Project Management Journal

    Collective Mindfulness member content locked

    By Wang, Linzhuo | Müller, Ralf | Zhu, Fangwei | Yang, Xiaotian We investigated the mechanisms of collective mindfulness for megaproject organizational resilience prior to, during, and after recovery from crises.

  • PMI Case Study

    Saudi Aramco member content open

    This in-depth case study outlines a project to increase productivity with Saudi Arabian public petroleum and natural gas company, Saudi Aramco.

  • PM Network

    The Certainty of Uncertainty member content open

    By Fewell, Jesse, As much as we yearn for a pre-pandemic return, it's naive to think the old ways of work will ever return—even for agile.

  • Project Management Journal

    Impact of Risk Attitude on Risk, Opportunity, and Performance Assessment of Construction Projects member content locked

    By Qazi, Abroon | Daghfous, Abdelkader | Khan, M. Sajid This article explores the impact of risk attitude on the assessment of project uncertainty.