...so much of the work had to be done by craft people dressed in bulky radiation-protection suits maneuvering themselves and their tools in cramped spaces.

Workers were monitored for radiation exposure that could not exceed 1 REM per day. But background levels had receded enough to permit most workers to work standard shifts.

One of the most challenging tasks involved repair, replacement or repositioning of almost 20% of the shields that keep heat-transfer-water feeder tubes from chafing against the clevis hangers. Ken Hobbs, OPG’s construction manager, rates the working conditions among the five worst on the project. There was so much loose contamination in the protective cabinets that workers sometimes had to wear a second layer of plastics. With only 2 to 3 in. between feeders, workers wearing two pairs of rubber gloves had tremendous difficulty working the 1�16-in. stamp-metal shields. Just getting to the work required workers to crawl on hands and knees along an 18-in.-wide catwalk.

Tight. Moderator heat exchangers (above) were shoehorned in. while welders (right) had to don safety gear over suits.

Even in areas where there was more space, it seldom was enough. During construction of the plant, the bulky moderator heat exchangers were installed before the reactor building was enclosed. Replacing them required hoisting the 20-ft-long, 23-ton exchangers through a hatch in the moderator room ceiling with the boiler room crane, removing them via an airlock from the reactor building, then wheeling them to an exit. Replacement heat exchangers had to follow the route in reverse a few months later.

But the schedule was slipping in spring 2004, so Murphy published a baseline schedule to track earned value and gave it to each contractor. "People in the field didn’t know how to read the schedule; they just worked," he says. "We needed a visual to show adherence to schedule." He began publishing weekly schedules targeting 80% completion of task orders on schedule.

By the end of July, everyone understood the 80% target. "Then it became a game," he says. Schedule adherence improved steadily through September and October. "We knew we had broken through around the first of the year," he says, when Black & McDonald achieved 98% of its schedule for the week in the allotted 50 hours.

Leaders. Murphy (right) and Munsey shared goal of changing project’s culture for success.

"One of the foremen wanted to stay behind to complete the last package to make 100%," Murphy says. Trying to persuade Murphy to authorize overtime to get the last 2%, the foreman told him, "If you won’t pay me to complete it, I’ll work on my own time."

That was one of only two 100% weeks on the entire project. But Murphy says the incident told him, "We could surge the machine, which meant we had control."

In September, Murphy established the Project Integration Team (PIT) meeting. About 50 people with decision-making authority from all project participants attended the meetings four days a week. The meeting helped drive home the concept of accountability. Participants learned to come to the meeting prepared to report not only problems, but what measures they had taken to solve them. "At the PIT, if a contractor said he was held up the day before, we’d say, ‘Who’d you call?’" says Munsey. "You can’t wait till the 0700 meeting. We called them out and held them accountable."

Murphy now hopes for quick approval to restart the remaining Pickering units. "Planning and assessing and design engineering have begun for Unit 2," he says. And the completion of Unit 1 on time and on budget has proven that OPG has learned how to manage its work.

(All pictures courtesy of Ontario Power Generation)