Nuclear

Palisades Trims Outage

Issue 2 and Volume 103.

Palisades Trims Outage

Consumers Energy`s Palisades Nuclear Plant in Covert, Mich. achieved its shortest outage ever during its latest refueling outage. Lasting 44 days, it beat the plant record by 11 days. Much of that speed is attributed to the use of Open Plan project management software from Welcom. Refueling outages cost the plant`s owner, Consumers Energy, between $500,000 and $1 million a day in lost production and expenses, so it estimated that the shortened outage saved between $5.5 million and $11 million.

“Welcom`s Open Plan helps greatly in modeling how long it will take to perform particular tasks, and, ultimately, how long an outage will last,” said Thomas Rich, Palisades senior planning engineer. “The software helps update the scheduling information in real time, so users immediately see the impact of these changes on critical path processes.”

About 20 schedulers at Palisades use the program. Essentially, it helps the plant`s staff gauge the status of the outage. With more thorough information about that status, workers can complete the tasks safer, faster and more efficiently.

Technicians and schedulers use the software to build a schedule of tasks, to track progress and to calculate how the progress affects other jobs and the overall outage. Additionally, several supervisors used 3Com`s PalmPilot handheld computers to update the outage schedule using a custom application developed with Satellite Forms from Softmagic.

One of the reasons Palisades officials chose Open Plan to manage outages is the product`s reporting capabilities and the open architecture of the database. Each of the plant`s departments can customize spreadsheets and reports to meet its particular information needs.

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