As the uncertain impact of COVID-19 continues to affect industries around the globe, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a statement regarding the nuclear industry. Across the world, nuclear plant operators and staff have been taking strategic steps to ensure the health and safety of their reactors as the pandemic continues, per IAEA’s Operating Experience Network (OPEX).
Though no country in the world has reported a shutdown or closure of a nuclear power plant, the IAEA has cautioned that the continued duration of the virus will eventually lead to revisions in operational procedures that will affect the way plants do business going forward. “Operators and regulators continue to ensure safety and security at plants worldwide even as the pandemic has impacted them in various ways,” says the director of IAEA’s Nuclear Power division Dohee Hahn, “including their planned outages and maintenance schedule.”
Though operators have undergone vigorous measures to practice safe distancing, allowing them to continue daily plant activities, the shuttered economies around the world have naturally created a lower demand on electrical grinds, which in turn results in plants lowering their power output. When the plant is no longer producing energy as it normally would, alterations to critical activities such as maintenance outages become necessary—often rescheduled or postponed indefinitely. This naturally creates a trickle-down effect as suppliers who would typically offer their services during these scheduled shutdowns are also forced to realign their business models accordingly.
The challenges presented to the nuclear industry’s global supply chain by COVID-19 are universally felt. As a long time supplier to the global nuclear industry, OTEK has adjusted its production capabilities to reduce lead times and supply chain disruptions, ensuring our nuclear power plants can continue delivering earth’s cleanest form of energy during this time of crisis.