This is not the Friday Joke.

Root cause analysis has become so popular that politicians are now calling for companies to complete a root cause analysis and implement corrective actions.

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker wrote a letter to Entergy Nuclear Operations calling on them to “… perform an appropriate root cause analysis …” of safety issues the NRC had announced “… and to complete all necessary repairs and corrective actions.”

The letter was in response to an unplanned shutdown at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts caused by a malfunctioning main steam stop valve (one of eight valves that is designed to shut off steam from the reactor to the turbine that generates electricity). The valve had failed shut.

For all those not in the nuclear industry, note that in the nuclear industry, a failure of one of eight valves that failed in the safe direction (shut) and that has backup safety systems (both manual and automatic) can get a public letter from the Governor and attention from a federal regulator. Imagine if you had this level of safety oversight of your systems. Would your equipment reliability programs pass muster?

The response from Entergy to the Governor noted that, “We have made changes and equipment upgrades that have already resulted in positive enhancements to operational reliability.” (Note that these fixes occurred in less than a week after the original mechanical failure.)

For more about the story, see: http://www.wbur.org/2015/09/03/baker-pilgrim-nuclear

Note the local NPR story at the link above is inaccurate in its description of the problem and the mechanical systems.

For those interested in improving equipment reliability and root cause analysis, consider attending one of our 3-Day TapRooT®/Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting and Root Cause Analysis Courses. See the upcoming course list at:

 http://www.taproot.com/store/3-Day-Courses/

Now for the biggest question … 

When will government authorities start applying root cause analysis
to the myriad of problems we face as a nation and start implementing appropriate corrective actions?