All companies bidding for contracts in the nuclear sector must demonstrate that they meet the exceptional quality demanded by nuclear safety regulators. On a positive note, companies already supplying to industries with demanding quality assurance requirements, such as the aerospace, automotive and rail sectors, could be in a good position to bid for nuclear work.
Improving international supply chain standards
Some nuclear technology vendors are supporting an initiative to develop an international standard aimed at the supply chain that would complement the widely used ISO 9001 quality management standard. The model is similar to that of the aerospace industry, which over the last 15 years has come to adopt standard AS9100 (EN9100). It uses ISO 9001 as a basis, adding or amending certain provisions, many of which are also required by the nuclear sector. In 2011 the Nuclear Quality Standard Association published a similar type of standard, the NSQ-100. It is intended that this standard become the basis for a recognised international standard by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Greg Kaser, senior project manager at the World Nuclear Association, elaborates. ‘It is important to note that NSQ-100 is aimed at suppliers to the industry and is not intended to replace the commonly specified NQA-1 standard for quality management issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The ASME standard specifies the quality programme needed by the designer and supplier of a nuclear reactor which can be applied further down the supply chain.’
‘Nevertheless, NSQ-100 should make it simpler for a manufacturer or system integrator to adapt their existing quality management system, if it is certified to ISO 9001, to meet the requirements in the nuclear industry. This in turn will assist in the localisation of the manufacture supply chain within….