Highly Integrated Quality Assurance – An Empirical Case
Highly Integrated Quality Assurance – An Empirical Case Highly Integrated Quality Assurance – An Empirical Case Drake Kirkham1, Amy Powell2, Lucas Rich3 1Quality Manager, Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Program, Idaho National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1625 M/S 6122, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-6122 2Quality Engineer, RPS Program, Idaho National Laboratory 3Quality Engineer, RPS Program, Idaho National Laboratory Contact: Voice: (208) 533-7550 Email: Drake.Kirkham@inl.gov Abstract. The Radioisotope Power Systems Program of the Idaho National Laboratory makes an empirical case for a highly integrated Quality Assurance function pertaining to the preparation, assembly, testing, storage and transportation of 238Pu fueled radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Case data represents multiple campaigns including the Pluto/New Horizons mission, the Mars Science Laboratory mission in progress, and other related projects. Traditional Quality Assurance models would attempt to reduce cost by minimizing the role of dedicated Quality Assurance personnel in favor of either functional tasking or peer-based implementations. Highly integrated Quality Assurance adds value by placing trained quality inspectors on the production floor side-by-side with nuclear facility operators to enhance team dynamics, reduce inspection wait time, and provide for immediate, independent feedback. Value is also added by maintaining dedicated Quality Engineers to provide for rapid identification and resolution of corrective action, enhanced and expedited supply chain interfaces, improved bonded storage more »
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