In an article titled Campbell eager for nuclear challenge Electric Light and Power described a personnel transition with an interesting twist. Bill Campbell moved from Entergy to TVA to become their head of nuclear operations. In that post he will be focused on operating and maintaining TVA’s existing fleet of reactors, while Ashok Bhatnagar will be in charge of the effort for new nuclear power generation.
There was a quote in the article that resonated with me and should be happy news for the current employees at TVA:
Mr. Campbell said he wants to focus more attention on improving performance than trying to make major cuts in the utility’s 2,600-employee nuclear staff.
“Part of the mission I’m on is to get us away from thinking so much about staffing numbers and thinking more about our performance,” he said.
This focus only makes sense – if new nuclear power plants are going to be constructed, it would be smart for all of the operating utilities to maintain and develop their existing staffs as a ready pool of operators for those new plants. Now is not the right time to be worried about minimizing the staff costs; it is time to plan for growth.
There is another good reason for this focus on excellence – any and all incidents at operating reactors will be emphasized. The people who wish to continue to sell fossil fuels will use them as part of their depleting arsenal of tactics that can be used to slow the growth of the industry. A handicapped nuclear industry allows them to maintain their wealth and power base as long as possible.