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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SNUPPS - Why it mattered then, and should now

Over on the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog, a large and detailed (if not overly involved or technical) article on the SNUPPS nuclear power plant construction project which I wrote has just been published.  My friend and colleague Glenn Williams provided invaluable help both in providing supporting information and peer review for this piece on what must certainly be considered the ultimate conceptual development for project management in the flood of new nuclear plant construction of the 1970's.

The question I need to answer here is this:  Why did I write it?

Frequently today in many varied discussions using every kind of media you can imagine (including the old ones like face-to-face and the phone) I find that knowledge of SNUPPS is non-existent.  Sure, some people have heard of it, but know little or nothing of what it actually was or how it was supposed to operate. 

I first learned about it as a "new nuke" back in about 1988 when I picked up a copy of "The Second Nuclear Era," which mentioned the project a number of times and pointed toward its advanced, standardized (duplicate, actually) nuclear plant design approach.  That book, however, gave no real details of the program.  Since then I've been curious about it and have wanted to write on it.  This reached a crescendo lately as discussions about how new nuclear plant construction in the United States could ever go forward considering the delays and overruns we're seeing with the new plants being built.  I decided that since every time I mentioned an integrated approach such as SNUPPS for US utilities, should they decide to work together, I got either silence or blank stares or even sometimes good questions, it was time to put permanently on the internet something that could show what the concepts of the program were, a bit of how it was carried out, and what some of the challenges turned out to be.

SNUPPS mattered then because of the enormous costs being incurred by delay, and the growing costs of regulation.  The program sought to cut these in an innovative way.  We see these problems now, today.  And they're not going to disappear.

So, having said all that, follow this link to ANS Nuclear Cafe and check out the article.  Feel free to comment on it or ask further questions.  I think we need ... dare I say it ... a paradigm shift again, and something like SNUPPS' management setup could allow a general approach by multiple, disparate utilities to get plants built en masse.

4:10 PM Eastern 3/17/2015

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