In 2010 the ASME initiated actions to expand their existing certification programs to recognize organizations implementing a Quality Assurance Program which meet the requirements of the ASME NQA-1 Standard. After conducting an industry survey in 2009, ASME identified that suppliers were interested in seeking certification of their Quality Assurance program’s compliance with the ASME NQA-1 Standard by a known reputable international organization.
With the renaissance in the nuclear power industry, the current supply chain cannot adequately meet the demands of existing facilities and new construction for the supply of items under an ASME NQA-1 quality assurance program. The industry is undergoing a rapid expansion of suppliers with an influx of new suppliers entering the nuclear supply chain, and previously approved suppliers reentering after many years of nuclear inactivity. The ASME NQA-1-2008 Edition with the NQA-1a-2009 Addenda has been endorsed by the US NRC and will become the basis for most suppliers’ Quality Assurance programs as the industry transitions from the 1994 edition of the ASME NQA-1 Standard. Therefore, the ASME Certification Program will be limited to the 2008 Edition and subsequent editions/addenda of the ASME NQA-1 Standard, “Quality Assurance Program Requirements for Nuclear Facility Applications”. The ASME Certification Program will allow organizations to confirm their ability to staff and implement their Quality Assurance program and utilize the integrity and creditability of an ASME Certification to communicate their accomplishment.
The NQA-1 Certification Program is not a regulatory, governmental or ASME Code requirement. It is a voluntary program being offered by ASME to meet the needs of the nuclear industry. ASME certification is recognized through the issuance of a NQA-1 Quality Program Certificate. An NQA-1 Quality Program Certificate does not prequalify or exempt an organization from the purchaser’s QA Program requirements for supplier qualification audits, per the ASME NQA-1 Standard, Part I, Requirement 7. It does, however, provide an additional high level of confidence to a purchaser that a supplier will have the knowledge and resources to meet and implement a Quality Assurance Program in compliance with the ASME NQA-1 Standard. To prevent a duplication of effort and conflicting requirements, the NQA-1 Certification Program is not applicable to items within the scope of the pressure boundary of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code; and therefore, cannot be used in-lieu of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control requirements stipulated by the Code.
This paper will focus on the process for initiation of the certification process, the process ASME will use to issue a certification, and the content of the certification.