Nuclear Waste Treatment Quality Processes

Bechtel and principal subcontractor AECOM have built solid reputations that are rooted in their longstanding commitments to getting the job done right. We understand that our mission is critical. We must deliver a Vit Plant that will safely process Hanford tank waste in accordance with U.S. Department of Energy requirements, and we know that our ability to complete the mission is dependent on the quality of the work we do today.

Our quality management system is robust and provides defense-in-depth to help us do our work right the first time, every time. We continually reassess our system and our performance because we are committed to improving our processes; strengthening our culture; and emphasizing individual performance, accountability, and recognition.

We understand that our work contributes directly to the Vit Plant’s ability to operate safely, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We ensure the systems, structures and components we deliver meet all DOE requirements, and the documentation that provides proof of our compliance is complete, clear and readily accessible.

Education and Expectations

Our robust quality management system ensures our commitment to delivering high-quality results is met. We educate our employees about our quality expectations and provide them with the tools they need. The following are a few examples:

People-Based Quality

People-Based Quality (PBQ) is a behavior-based program aimed at creating a positive quality culture. It centers around team members interacting with each other, asking questions and reinforcing positive behaviors, all in an effort to deliver high-quality results. The Vit Plant has two PBQ programs—craft and non-manual. In each, employees participate in quality-based interactions/conversations with trained PBQ representatives.

Quality Absolutes

The People-Based Quality program centers around five quality absolutes that provide clear direction about the expectations for all Vit Plant employees. Each absolute is essential to achieving high quality and, when applied consistently, minimizes rework and errors. The quality absolutes are posted throughout project offices and at the construction site. Employees are expected to implement the absolutes in their daily activities.

Requirements Management Program

The Requirements Management program provides a comprehensive process to ensure that applicable requirements (state, federal, contractual, etc.) are identified and implemented throughout design, construction, and commissioning phases. The program is controlled by a suite of documents that identifies and records requirements, assigns them to an owner, and flows them down to work procedures.

Human Performance Improvement

Human Performance Improvement is a model that centers around educating employees that while all humans make mistakes, we can reduce the severity and occurrence of errors by identifying the precursors and implementing defenses. Through the use of error-reduction tools and managing defenses, we can reduce the likelihood of operational upsets.

Lessons Learned Program

The Lessons Learned program provides employees with an easy-to-access central electronic library where they can share and learn about each other’s experiences and ideas. Through learning, employees are better prepared to identify opportunities to improve safety, quality, and the overall efficiency and effectiveness of work processes, procedures, design and operations. Lessons learned are developed and submitted by employees and cover a broad range of topics.

Lean Six Sigma

Using a wide variety of data- and statistic-driven tools, Six Sigma processes help identify critical components that directly impact project deliverables. Six Sigma contributes to a quality product by focusing on the process to dictate a proper outcome.

Example Resources