Virtually all nuclear utilities are facing ever-increasing personnel and financial pressures. The aging work force and demand for talent from regulators and new nuclear plants are creating skill gaps. Financial pressures are increasing in today’s sluggish economy, forcing utilities to optimize the size and skill sets of their staffs.
Talent Sharing is an initiative through which Westinghouse serves as a seamless extension of utilities’ engineering organizations. In a Talent Sharing relationship, Westinghouse uses its technologies, infrastructure and resources to help utilities that are understaffed or have inexperienced staff fill skill gaps, and to help utilities that have overstaffed areas better use their engineers for other activities. Westinghouse selects engineering functions and removes the burdens of hiring, training and retaining qualified engineering personnel. Westinghouse uses its technologies and processes to perform these engineering functions in the most efficient manner, resulting in lower costs. As a large, global organization, Westinghouse has all the resources needed to address activity surges, thereby allowing plants to maintain staffing only at the minimum level necessary to perform licensee-required activities.
Through the breadth and depth of knowledge in the design and operations of nuclear power plants, Westinghouse effectively brings lessons learned and best practices to its teammates – providing fleet-like benefits without the fleet. Talent Sharing agreements make it possible for Westinghouse and the utility to work as ONE in order to achieve plant performance and financial objectives.
The Talent Sharing Operating Model has four basic elements:
Small, Local Presence: An operation manager who oversees engineers qualified in both the site’s and Westinghouse’s processes reports directly to the site engineering executive. The local presence is intentionally small in order to minimize costs of hiring, training and retaining engineers to work in the rural areas where power plants are typically situated and to maximize efficiencies of a work force shared among several plant sites. The local engineers see that both Westinghouse’s and the site’s processes are aligned, allowing peak operational efficiency. They identify Westinghouse products and services that would be beneficial to the reliable and efficient operation of the plant and liaise with the site and Westinghouse to tailor the products to align with site objectives. These engineers integrate Westinghouse deliverables into the site programs. The local engineers are also the 24/7 points of contact to address emergent plant issues, assist with backlog maintenance and perform other engineering-related functions.
Regional Centers of Business or Centers of Excellence: Operation managers provide smooth workflow at the regional Centers of Business (COBs), allowing utilities to share resources. The COBs work best when several plant sites of similar designs are located in the same region or time zone. Individual plants can use less experienced system engineers to interface with the plant processes, and shared COB experts with plant-specific knowledge to provide detailed design basis-related information and evaluations. Because of the regional location, the expert can quickly be on-site to support emergent plant issues. In addition, programs such as probabilistic risk assessment applications can be developed and maintained jointly in the COBs and applied locally, optimizing the commonalities frequently available with the development and implementation of these programs. The shared engineering staff would perform most of the actual work in the COBs.
Headquarters Support: The staffs at the Westinghouse headquarters locations would be responsible for the following:
Phased Approaches: Although optimization can best be achieved if Westinghouse assumes complete responsibility for selected engineering functions, Westinghouse can develop phased approaches to demonstrate the efficacy of the teaming relationship.
Through a Talent Sharing arrangement, Westinghouse will work as ONE with the utility team, as an aligned, seamless extension of the engineering organization, to “right size” the utility engineering staff, optimize processes and resources, and achieve plant performance goals.