Nuklearna Elektrarna Krsko (NEK) was built in the early 1980s and is Slovenia and Croatia’s only nuclear power plant. We play a critical role in supplying a large part of the region’s electricity.
The power plant generates more than five billion (109) kWh of electrical energy per year, which represents approximately 40 per cent of the total electricity produced in Slovenia.
We set the following strategic objectives for electricity production:
- Safe and stable operations in the top twenty-five per cent of nuclear power plants operating around the world
- Compliance with World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) performance indicators
- Annual production of an average of 5,100 GWh, an 18-month fuel cycle, outages shorter than 28 days and cost effectiveness
- Social acceptability of nuclear power based on safe, environmentally clean and responsible operations
The nuclear industry is seeing greater demand in delivering energy to the world but is faced with ageing facilities and IT infrastructures will struggle to ensure supply for the next 20 years.
Many governments are looking to extend the life of their existing nuclear power plants and invest in new ones. Not only because nuclear power will deliver energy to the population for many years to come but also because the plants don’t release greenhouse gases in energy production.
Even the permanent disposal of radioactive waste is being dealt with in an ever more efficient way.
With this focus on nuclear power we have a clear vision to be among the best functioning nuclear power plants in the world. In order to achieve this, our company needed an enterprise software strategy that could support the demand for nuclear technology while ensuring nuclear safety, operational stability and business performance for the next 20 years.
Ultimately, with the underlying IT infrastructure controling the operations of our plant, state of the art systems and software were needed to enable the responsible supply of nuclear energy to Slovenia and Croatia. The systems needed to enable us to achieve:
- A commitment to nuclear safety
- Safe and stable operations in line with industry and best practice standards
- Critical assessment of results achieved
- Competitive production of electricity in an open electricity market
- Public acceptability on the basis of a transparent, ethical and positive attitude to environmental factors
- Adherence to the regulation and legal requirements set out by the Governments of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia
- Ensuring future electricity supply
As our infrastructure aged, it was no longer able to meet all our requirements so we needed to assess our enterprise software strategy to enable electricity production for the future.
Due to increasing pressures, we were unable to complete application upgrades and maintenance as efficiently and effectively as we would have liked. This, combined with newly implemented business processes that created additional requirements on the IT infrastructure, meant that we needed to invest in new hardware and software to continue to meet our vision.
In addition, we were under constant pressure to meet new EU business-related legislation as well as ensuring compliance with international accountancy standards. As a result, we required a long term IT solution that was open and flexible enough to meet all new and future compliance requirements.
We put in place a number of goals that the new solution needed to deliver. These formed the basis of our vendor tender process:
- Ensure long term local support through personnel and subcontractor knowledge of the system
- Adhere to future nuclear power plant specific requirements as standard
- Enable reactor and industrial safety, plant reliability and quality of work
- Produce a user-friendly environment for planners, maintenance and operation
- Optimise the human resource function
- Ensure effective asset management – history of work carried out on the plant; condition of equipment, materials used to replace/fix parts, any subsequent failures and who was responsible for the work undertaken
In order to meet all these requirements, we extended our strategic relationship with Oracle, following a competitive tender process. Oracle is providing a long term IT solution and will work with us to develop next generation technology applications that can become industry standards for the nuclear utilities market.
Single integrated view of operations
To help support our continuous efforts to improve plant safety and reliability, as well as cost effectiveness of plant operations, we implemented Oracle Enterprise Asset Management (eAM), and the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1 at the nuclear plant. Oracle eAM has replaced the maintenance management system and was chosen to enable a single, integrated system with unrivalled functionalities for asset management and supply chain planning.
Additionally, Oracle eAM will help unify the information environment and deliver asset lifecycle management, as well as leaner operations and improved return on capital investments.
Furthermore, the Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1 provides a global business foundation that increases productivity with integrated business processes, to standardise, simplify and reduce costs. This will deliver integrated work and supply chain management for us, incorporating visual navigation planning, work order processing and nuclear systems maintenance.
The partnership with Oracle is a strategic one, with the aim to not only support the plant’s requirements, but to also benefit the global nuclear power industry and develop next-generation industry solutions.
Increased visibility through enterprise asset management
Oracle eAM supports sophisticated, condition-based maintenance strategies for property, plants, and public infrastructure and forms the backbone of our enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy. Oracle eAM's single-instance design ensures best practices and quality compliance for us, eliminates excess and obsolete spare parts inventories, promotes environmental, health and safety policies, smooths coordination of production and maintenance schedules, and improves both the responsiveness and accuracy of contracted maintenance.
This functionality has enabled us to operate the plant safely to meet the energy needs of Slovenia and Croatia. Oracle’s eAM is crucial to the running of the plant as it enables us to react and respond faster to changing processes and regulations. This in turn maximises the level of uptime in the plant leading to greater business success and increased production of electricity.
The new system delivers:
- Integrated Workplace Management
Effectively measuring corporate and commercial plant performance requires a single repository of portfolio planning, projects, leasing, space allocation, tenant services and facilities management information. Oracle eAM is a lynchpin of the integrated workplace incorporating visual navigation for space planning and allocation, multi-channel service request processing, building systems maintenance, and technology asset tracking.
- Lean Maintenance and Quality Compliance
Overcapacity and low-cost competition press manufacturers to eliminate waste at every turn; but lean maintenance is hindered by the lack of standardised best practices and performance reporting. Oracle eAM helps balance production throughput with overhead and ensures lean operations at every site.
- Lifecycle Management
Monitoring and effectively controlling capital asset performance from specification and procurement, through construction, commissioning, and maintenance, to retirement is an elusive goal for all utility companies including our nuclear plant. Oracle eAM improves return on capital assets by integrating physical with financial aspects and supporting deep collaboration between project lifecycle and service lifecycle operations.
- Best practice enterprise software strategy
Throughout the process of defining, choosing and implementing a new solution to future proof the plant, we met a number of challenges. To overcome these challenges we worked closely with Oracle in order to deliver a tailored solution that would match the requirements of our vision.
We learnt a lot during the process and are keen to share the experience with others in the industry in order to continue to advance the supply of nuclear power.
In order to deliver a project of this scale, we found that nuclear power plants need to follow these steps in order to maximise supply and efficiency:
Fully align IT infrastructure with business strategy to enable:
- A high level of nuclear safety and reliability
- Economical and effective production of energy
- Compliance with nuclear industry standards and regulations
- Precise definition of the expected value the IT system will bring and transparent metrics to measure key goals
- Define software strategy based on standard software solutions which have to meet all essential nuclear power generation requirements
Sharing knowledge with the nuclear power industry
As part of the enhanced partnership, we became a member of the Oracle Enterprise Asset Management Customer Advisory Board. The board aims to help further enhance the Oracle software through insights from its customer base regarding the use of its products and ideas for the future.
In addition, we lead the newly formed Nuclear Power Generation Special Interest Group (www.NPGSIG.org) within the Oracle Application User Group. The group’s objective is to bring together as many nuclear power plants as possible on a user level, so that peers can exchange experiences, policies and business advice on Oracle software.
We have also been invited to join the ORACLE Fusion Asset Strategy Forum. The goal of this group is to provide a forum where ORACLE key customers and the Oracle Fusion Assets team can discuss business requirements, perform solution validation, provide ongoing feedback on functional design, and participate in user testing.
Our vision is not only to ensure our own ability to produce and supply safe and reliable energy to Slovenia and Croatia, but also to increase the production of nuclear power globally. By sharing our experiences with the advisory board, in implementing new technology to support our goals, we are able to shape future developments in the industry and set industry standards.