Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Engineering (D Eng)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Adrian V. Gheorghe

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Charles B. Daniels

Committee Member

James H. Warren, Jr.

Committee Member

Ionut Purica


The nuclear power industry in the United States (U.S.) has gone through various changes throughout its history. Most recently, plans to grow the industry through the construction of new power plants have ceased. Because of this, the industry is at a period where the longevity and resilience of existing nuclear power plants are vital to its subsistence.

One of the ways existing nuclear power plants can assure longevity and resilience is by performing engineering design modifications efficiently and at a lower cost. Strategic plans, such as the Delivering the Nuclear Promise, can support nuclear utilities to achieve this. Another strategy to accomplish longevity and resilience is to ensure individuals performing these projects possess the proper knowledge to complete tasks efficiently while being cost-effective. Knowledge retention is the main purpose of this research project.

This doctoral dissertation develops a case study for engineering design modification projects at nuclear power plants, with the intention of it becoming a knowledge retention tool to support the longevity and resilience of the industry. A literature review of subjects such as an overview of nuclear power plants, license renewal, resilience, and knowledge management comprises the first part of this paper. The literature review is followed by the description of the research methodology and the results of the research. Three parts comprise the results section. Part one develops a work breakdown structure (WBS) for a design modification project. Part two provides a list of activity descriptions that need to be completed as part of a conceptual design package, including estimated person-hours and proposed durations for each activity. The third part performs a risk assessment using the Failure Modes and Effects (FMEA) tool. This section identifies potential failure modes for each activity, causes of failure, human performance tools that can help prevent or detect the failures, and recommends actions to address and mitigate the risks identified. The results of this case study demonstrate how, with the correct knowledge, engineering design modification risks can be mitigated and activities can be accounted for when developing project estimates. This information can assist the future development of efficient and cost-effective projects within the nuclear industry.