It’s an interesting time to be in the nuclear energy industry. America’s nuclear power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon-free electricity, provide well-paying jobs and support their local communities. Yet, several reliable nuclear plants have closed in the past few years because of economic challenges driven in part by low-cost natural gas generation.
Duke Energy has been participating in the nuclear industry’s efforts to address these challenges through Delivering the Nuclear Promise (DNP), which leverages industry best practices to achieve effective, even safer operations. “The entire industry is working together to identify opportunities to be more efficient,” said Tom Natale, Duke Energy’s fleet coordinator for Delivering the Nuclear Promise. “This gives us the ability to do things the same way, and to achieve our biggest wins.”
Like all teams across Duke Energy’s fleet, NAYGN members have been integral to the implementation of DNP. Members have facilitated presentations, provided feedback that informed fleetwide workshops and held brainstorming sessions to identify more efficient ways to complete work.
Duke Energy has created the Duke Nuclear Advantage (DNA) program to take DNP one-step further. This program focuses on the entire nuclear team down to the individual by soliciting efficiency suggestions and involving employees through implementation. NAYGN members led a session on DNA at Duke Energy’s annual chapter conference to encourage continued engagement. In addition, NAYGN members facilitated DNA workshops reaching most employees fleetwide.
To capture employee ideas, Duke Energy launched the “Take Action” tool, which NAYGN was involved in creating and implementing across the company’s six nuclear sites. “We have engaged all of our employees in this process and their ideas, submitted through our Take Action tool, have already led to many improvements,” said Chuck Morris, general manager, Duke Nuclear Advantage. “These ideas are critical to continuing our momentum for sustaining operational excellence and keeping our nuclear fleet viable with other energy sources.”
Duke Energy NAYGN members have also reached out to others in the industry to discuss DNP. Members at Catawba Nuclear Station hosted speakers from the Electric Power Research Institute for an industrywide DNP update, and chapter leadership benchmarked efforts with NAYGN officers at Palo Verde Generating Station earlier this year. A member also serves on one of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operator DNP teams.
Nuclear energy is an essential part of America’s energy security. By supporting initiatives like DNP, NAYGN members are doing their part to ensure this ideal generation source continues to provide clean, reliable energy for years to come.
-Written by Anne McGovern, Duke Energy-NAYGN