The introduction of a quality policy in enterprises of the Russian Federation was identified as being of great importance in the early 1990's, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was equally valid for all enterprises that produced nuclear plant equipment. In a period of significant changes in economics, it was necessary to provide labour motivation, optimal financing, quality and safety of machinery.
Quality policy at an enterprise involves man-power, material, time and money resources. But, lack of quality can also have a high cost, especially after accident:
- each defect is expensive to rectify, and the later it is revealed, the more expensive it is;
- the failure of a system is still more expensive: there were situations when mechanical imperfections resulted in shutdown of a nuclear power plant for a long period of time and losses exceeded the primary cost of the plant;
- furthermore, the potentially dramatic consequences of a nuclear accident are well known.
The main objective of the project was the development and transfer of methodologies for the evaluation of the costs and benefits of introducing Quality Assurance systems to the manufacture of equipment for nuclear power plants of the Russian Federation.
The activities to be performed included:
- An investigation of the specific features of the Russian nuclear industry and its problems (organisation, management, quality)
- Transfer of information on methodological aspects
- Training of Russian specialists on methods of analysis
- Assessment by the Consultant of the status of implementation of Quality Assurance principles in a number of 'pilot' organisations of the Russian nuclear industry. These comprised NPP operators, design and engineering organisations and component manufacturers as well as the Russian nuclear regulatory body.
The training comprised classroom (theoretical) training of Russian specialists (12 training courses covering various aspects of cost/benefit analysis of the introduction of Quality Assurance systems) as well as study tours for selected specialists to different organisations of the nuclear industry in France.
The project was started in December 1994 with the kick-off meeting. In the report of that meeting a work plan for the whole project was agreed upon.
The project was implemented in three phases as per the Terms of Reference (TOR):
- The first one, the theoretical part, took place in Moscow between September and November 1995.
- Phase two, practical demonstration of the application of quality policy, was arranged in France in late November / early December 1995.
- The third phase, assessment of the application of the quality policy to the production units in Russia, was implemented in two missions, in March and September 1996.
The results were recorded in the voluminous presentation material (450 pages, 250 slides in Russian and French), the reports of the practical training visit to France and the reports of the practical applications in the selected Russian entities. The results complied with the requirements of TOR.
Workers of the selected Russian organisations acquired competence to apply the new methodology in their daily work when developing quality systems as required in the new nuclear legislation.