Palo Verde takes home 2020’s top TIP

July 20, 2020, 7:01AMNuclear News

A team from Arizona Public Service’s (APS) Palo Verde nuclear plant, in Wintersburg, Ariz., has won the Nuclear Energy Institute’s “Best of the Best” Top Innovative Practice (TIP) Award for developing in-house software applications that use machine learning to automate such time-consuming tasks as screening reports or searching maintenance logs. The award was announced July 9 during NEI’s first-ever virtual TIP Awards presentation.

APS Chief Nuclear Officer Maria Lacal, with Palo Verde’s Best of the Best Award.

Acceptance speech: “I’m so impressed by all the TIP Award winners this year,” said APS Chief Nuclear Officer Maria Lacal. “Their work represents what I appreciate so much about the nuclear energy industry, and that is how we share our operating experience and good practices for the benefit of the entire nuclear fleet. By developing and implementing new and better ways of doing business through innovation and through technology, it results in continuous improvement in safety and efficiency, year after year.”

Lacal recognized the members of her Best of the Best team—Bradley Fox, Jerrold Vincent, Sean Benner, and Phil Zeringue—and said that their innovation is “already making our plant even safer and more efficient.”

More winners: Other industry innovations recognized at this year’s TIP Awards included the installation of a network of wireless sensors to monitor plant conditions around the clock, the testing of a new type of fuel to improve plant performance, and the use of virtual reality to interest students in nuclear energy careers.

Award winners included teams from: Hope Creek, PSEG Nuclear LLC; Browns Ferry, Tennessee Valley Authority; Cook, American Electric Power; Palo Verde, Arizona Public Service Company; Workforce Development, XR Lab, Duke Energy; Callaway, Ameren Missouri; Surry, Dominion Energy; Brunswick, Duke Energy; Exelon Nuclear Generation (corporate); and Vogtle, Southern Nuclear.

In closing: At the end of the awards ceremony, NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Korsnick noted that the TIP award winners are just the “tip of the iceberg,” when it comes to new ideas generated by the U.S. nuclear energy sector. “There are thousands of examples of innovative thinking from across the industry—at our nuclear power plants, at our suppliers, and at our service providers—that enables nuclear energy to power our homes and cities with carbon-free electricity,” she said.

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