In a world striving for continuous improvement, the utility and manufacturing industries appear to have taken different paths to success. But are they the same and can we learn from them to take a revolutionary step towards manufacturing excellence for Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel? The safety critical environment that is the hallmark of the nuclear industry has led the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) to develop a rigorous and disciplined approach to equipment reliability that is repeated across the nuclear generation industry. This is manifested in well documented processes and procedures in response to the heavily audited power generation segment. INPO’s Equipment Reliability guideline, AP-913, is a top down methodology that captures equipment history and best practices to tie together activities throughout a station to improve reliability. Manufacturing however is breeding a culture of continuous improvement, or “kaizens”, where “Lean” and “Total Productive Maintenance” (TPM) tools and techniques drive a multiplicity of incremental improvements. The manufacturing concepts and approaches of Lean and TPM were developed originally in Japan by such companies as Toyota and Motorola and formalized by the Japan Institute of Plant Management as an equipment management strategy, which was designed to support the Total Quality Management strategy. Lean and TPM are fostered by professional societies and are well described in a body of literature with decades of experience. Since this paper provides a cross-discipline comparison in a primarily nuclear applications conference, introductory material for the TPM methodology is referenced, while only overview concepts are described herein. It is hoped that this will spur the reader to develop a more complete understanding of TPM, to further integrate these applications in both industries. This paper provides an initial overview of how Westinghouse Fuel Manufacturing is developing an equipment reliability programme that is exploiting the best practices of the AP-913 integrated processes with the strong continuous improvement tool set of manufacturing. We have just begun to roll-out the new processes and guidelines. In future papers, more detailed comparisons and lessons learned from implementation will be described.

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