Project Management Institute

Jet pump riser brace modification

no room for error

Project Management in Action

Project Snapshots


When you are standing on the refueling floor of a nuclear reactor about to attempt a modification on a component that is more than 70 feet under water, it is essential that everything is in place and ready to go. That was the problem project manager James L. Seago of General Electric Nuclear Service and Projects Division (NSPD) had to solve on the Jet Pump Riser Brace Modification project.

GE wanted an integrated project schedule, using a computer-based project management system, and Mr. Seago called me to help put it together. The schedule had to organize the overall effort, and effectively communicate project progress and cost information to a 40-person project team and management. GE had to develop and test not only a specially designed clamp, used to accomplish the modification, but also over 30 remote tools, each with a unique purpose.

The modified component, called the Jet Pump Riser Brace, is sandwiched between the reactor vessel and shroud. There is barely space for the clamp used to secure the brace and riser, let alone space to maneuver the necessary tools. To further complicate matters, all of this must be done remotely from the refuel platform while viewing with TV cameras. Everything has to work together to guarantee a smooth installation process.

The clamp installation requires custom tools and the tool set design was very dependent on the clamp design. Mr. Seago ensured that the engineers designing the tools and the engineers designing the clamp started working together very early in the project. This approach guaranteed that the tool set would integrate well with the clamp. In addition, the clamp engineers understood the unique problems that would be encountered during installation, and designed the clamp to be as easy to install as possible. But nothing is easy when you are working under 70 feet of water in a radioactive environment.

In building the schedule, we were able to reflect these activities and dependencies. This ensured that both the customer and GE management were aware of the importance of the design phase and provided justification for taking extra time up front.

Mr. Seago included some redesign time in the schedule so that any design problems were resolved well before installation. The initial design was successful, thanks to the integrated efforts of the clamp and tool designers, and resulted in a clamp that would do the job and would be easy to install.

Combining a seasoned, experienced project manager like Jim Seago with a standard computer-based schedule system that could track and manage the project resulted in success. Everyone was informed of changes in the project schedule and the resulting impacts that these changes had upon the overall project. By indicating the effect of a proposed or actual slip upon the project at large, Mr. Seago was able to get the involved parties, and management, to buy-in on necessary schedule changes and accelerations, allowing GE to keep the project ahead of schedule and under cost.

From: Dominick Soldano,
Scitor Corporation

Product Used Scitor's Project Scheduler

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