By: Terry Herrmann
While the 2018 Spring outage season is mostly behind us, we all know a key element in being able to provide safe, reliable, clean and economic power to energy consumers is how successfully plant outages are accomplished. I know from personal experience how good planning, including contingency planning, has significantly reduced outage durations (see Figure 1). I worked my first outage in 1981. It ran 110 days and was punctuated by rework, surprise discoveries and last-minute procurement of materials and services. By the late 1990s the industry had established outage milestones for design changes, significantly improved the level of detail in schedules, performed more work with the plant on line and implemented focused outage control organizations. Except for major activities like condenser retubing, power uprates and emergent issues that impact the scheduled critical path, outage durations today are almost exclusively associated with refueling activities.