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Nuclear Plant New Build WBS Example

5 replies [Last post]
Tom Rosenbaugh
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Looking for a WBS for a Nuclear Plant New Build and is proving very difficult since one hasn’t been built in the US sinct the 80’s. Any help would be much appreciated.



chris eaglen
User offline. Last seen 11 years 28 weeks ago. Offline

Dear Tom,


This is a useful question which draws cant do first.  When you start to address this issue it is very significant.  Much of a nuclear power station is only a power station in gas or coal or in some areas oil burning.

There is a protocol for all the preparation which does need to be prioritised for licences and planning and then for each of the advanced and enabling works, again a sea or river based nuclear power station will require the security fence, the land levelling and earth works and the sea/river water extraction and discharge.

If the new build power stations are considered as 4D history of workflow and some of the sections are then staged for say excavation, RC construction, to superstructure and fit out we can have the WBS in summary format and expanded into the BIM and for the engineering PDMS/PDS/MEP details.

So much of the nuclear power station is replicable work from large industrial, energy and oil/gas facilities.


Suggest you section the site, phase the main works and then add specific critical elements of interest.

Because there are some aspirational projects without the follow through currently, or the early enabling and advanced works there is not a significant number of plans in the public domain but they are possible to construct and to integrate into programmes to reduce some procurement/supply complexities resulting in too much bespoking as is being suggested may be unavoidable.  I do not share that view and consider the lack of discussion is mainly due to mega-scale of the different elements.


Dissect the problem and draw in the logic diagrams from other similar facilities and it will be possible to create much of the project.


Where we do need clarity is in setting the different plans for the virtual power station in BIM/PDMS, for the AEC and Construction Management and Client Project Management and for the Financing and Approval and for the construction, fabrication, assembly and buildings fitting out.


Take small aspects and leave the reactor as a variable exchangeable element depending on whose nuclear technology the client requires.


There is a challenge for the planners to be able to format the nuclear power station project WBS requirements and it will be done within the next 3 years because they are too expensive to leave to the learning curve approach. 


Replication where possible is needed and is a challenge to help set the Critical Success Factors, KPIs, and the obejectives/sub-objectives and then we can manage outcomes which is a purpose of planning. 


More than a WBS approach is needed but the different WBS formats for each significant aspect is crucial to these expensive projects, which currently are being organised in a fragmented manner by interested corporates rather than coordinated to reduce  total multiple corporate costs and electricity bills for the consumer. 


If you can identify the particular area of interest within the larger tapestry we can see what is possible.


Thank you

Best regards

Dr Chris Eaglen

Oliver Melling
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There will be no standard WBS for a nuclear new build.

The cost of one station is currently about £9 billion i think and consequently this cannot be delivered by one company alone. Plus, there are many different factors specific to te each site, each reactor design, each countries regulations etc.

A project that big will be done in phases, even getting the site license approved would have its own programme lasting years!

Shah. HB
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Hi to all

Click the link below for "Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures-Second Edition".It contains good models of WBS covering major industries
Rafael Davila
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If you are not required to follow a specific WBS standard, perhaps it does not exist. In the absence of any standard I would follow what we are required for general construction works, one level for the job packages on the portfolio, next level for construction phases if there are, next level for main construction areas, next level for CSI divisions. That would be my main WBS a WBS by function, and then I would define another WBS dictionary or definition based on responsibility. If latter someone requires 10 or 20 other WBS Definitions of their preference then in due time I would create these. For me two or three WBS definitions is enough.
Samer Zawaydeh
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Joined: 3 Aug 2008
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Dear Tom,

I am sure that they have protocols that prohibit people from posting them. It is practically impossible that you will get a response.

With kind regards,