Lesson-learning in Nuclear Construction Projects

Published April 2018

Download full report (pdf)

This report reviews and analyses recent nuclear power plant construction projects to identify good practice and lessons learnt.

While there are many examples from around the world of nuclear construction projects that have progressed well, several recent cases have seen significant delays and project cost escalation, threatening those projects’ ultimate completion and eroding the appetite for building further nuclear power plants. The World Nuclear Association established a task force on lesson-learning to help the nuclear community take advantage of the lessons learned and contribute to the perception of nuclear power among policy-makers, regulators and civil society. The task force sought evidence from World Nuclear Association member companies and reviewed the literature on mega-project outcomes and the findings from regulatory bodies.

The main lesson from recent construction experience is that a collaborative relationship between the project’s sponsor and the top tier contractors provides the foundation for a well-managed project. It allows a wider set of procurement strategies to be employed, encourages knowledge sharing in the planning process and facilitates team working between companies. During execution, appropriate incentives motivate the partners to resolve problems as they arise while discouraging obstructive behaviours that are designed primarily to limit the parties’ individual liability.

Wider stakeholder engagement with local communities and taking an accommodative approach towards local community concerns will remove the potential of the project to generate opposition.