A limit to improvement?

30 May 2000

Nuclear plant performance trends are reflected in this series of performance indicators, produced by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) since 1991.

After several years where the performance of nuclear operators on all WANO indicators showed consistent improvement, the figures on capability factor, unplanned automatic scrams, collective radiation exposure and waste volumes produced are beginningto show consistency with previous years. Has the industry reached the limit to which these indicators can be improved? It may be that there are still incremental improvements to be made but it seems likely that some creative thinking will be required to make significant improvements to plant performance from now on.

For the first time this year we include performance figures for the industrial safety accident rate. The question of whether there are performance indicators that can assess progress in safety culture is one that has been widely debated in this era of reduced staffing levels and increased economic pressure. Although too much weight should not be placed on a single indicator, industrial accidents is one area which gives a clue to the health of the industry’s safety culture. This indicator has also shown considerable improvement over the last ten years.

All indicator values are median values except for unplanned automatic scrams per 7000 hours critical, where the mean of plant values is shown, and industrial safety accident rate, which is an overall industry value (summation of plant values).

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