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Configuration Management at Sizewell B

Britain's first and only commercial pressurised water reactor (PWR) located on the east coast of the United Kingdom, near Leiston in Suffolk.

Start of construction: 1988

Start of generation: 1995

Estimated decommissioning date: 2035

Ed Brown, AsBuilt’s CEO, gained his first experience of leading an electronic document management system for Nuclear Electric’s Sizewell B' station in 1995 . He was the Station IT Director and hired Cimage to build his Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) based on configuration management systems only previously used by the US military. Ed Brown was the first person to use this type of system for a commercial application; the EDMS was therefore affectionately referred to as Ed’s Management System.

Sizewell 'B' benefits from a more direct method of maintaining the Configuration Management of the station and hence maintaining high safety standards; improved turnaround in plant modification proposals (PMP); significant time and cost savings in managing vital records; and increased productivity.

The system was later rolled out across the UK nuclear industry. The Sizewell project is one of the largest single engineering projects ever to be commissioned on one site in Britain. There were over 300,000 documents associated with the project at the site, of which 200,000 are drawings, weighing a staggering 50 tons.

A completely reliable and robust EDMS was required at Sizewell because the plant must conform to a rigorous Configuration Management strategy devised by the operators to meet the international regulatory 'Safety Case' requirements on safety. Configuration Management at Sizewell 'B' is an integrated management approach which ensures that plant structures, systems, components and supporting computer codes conform to the approved design. Their functional and physical characteristics must be accurately reflected in design, procurement and licensing documents.

To support the strategy, the management at Sizewell 'B' through the EDMS can control all changes to plant, data and documentation to ensure that records are consistent and that the effects of the change are correctly manifested in all related records. Through automated workflow methods EDMS provides a highly effective means to initiate, gain approval and record these modifications to the plant and related structures, components and systems.