Giving the nuclear industry back the excellence it needs to meet the challenges of the future

The excell Plan, launched in the spring of 2020, aims at enabling the French nuclear industry to return to a high standard of quality and excellence so as to take on existing and future major projects in France, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the world. The excell Plan also benefits the operating nuclear fleet programmes, especially Grand Carénage and related maintenance operations.

The excell Plan is made up of 30 concrete commitments, structured around 5 key areas (governance, standardisation, supplier relationships, manufacturing, and skills) and a welding plan to support the training and qualification of welders working on nuclear industry sites.

Objectives achieved

By 2023, the 30 commitments of the excell Plan have been finalised and anchored in operational practices, thanks to the commitment of EDF and all the companies in the French nuclear industry.

The commitments that were not fully finalised at the end of 2022 were finalised in 2023, putting an end to the deployment of the actions of the excell Plan. Committed momentum is now the rule for all nuclear players within EDF and the nuclear industry; this continues to bear fruit. Its impact on the results of nuclear projects is monitored in a quarterly dashboard whose ambitious targets are all levers for excellence. This dashboard also includes the results achieved in the field of skills with the annual analysis conducted by the GIFEN as part of the MATCH(2) project and through the partnership between EDF and its suppliers monitored by the nuclear sector barometer maintained by the GIFEN.

An overview of the plan is available for 2023. Progress in each of the five aspects of the plan reflects the results obtained.

Governance of nuclear projects

The primary milestones for nuclear projects have been identified. For each milestone, three key elements have been defined that determine whether the milestone has been achieved. The control team in charge of large projects, made up of a few high-level experts in the various skills has provided a head-up view of the project's progress and provided aid for projects experiencing issues. At the same time, project management for the new EPR2 nuclear reactor programme was put in place.


Among the many actions that have been carried out, two major changes should be noted:

  • a new manufacturing supervisory strategy to achieve convergence between the smooth operation of the manufacturing cycle on the one hand, and the quality issues and associated regulatory requirements on the other;
  • common practice in other industries is to develop qualifications for industrial processes to re-secure product quality and reduce the need for monitoring. Lastly, EDF decided to embark on ISO 19443 certification for its own entities concerned by nuclear safety issues, and for companies carrying out manufacturing or other activities involving such issues. 120 companies in the sector are ISO 19443 certified, with a further 80 companies in the process of obtaining certification. Framatome is part of the EDF Group's excell Plan. The aim is to guarantee the stability of the supply chain, control manufacturing lead times for Framatome and its key suppliers and maintain skills. To this end, Framatome's component plants are rolling out plans to enable compliant manufacturing and construction the first time. All stakeholders are involved, with the aim of standardising activities.

Supplier relationship

The quality of relationships between EDF and its suppliers is central to the success of work on the operating fleet and for new projects. In consultation with companies in the sector, the contractual provisions have been reviewed to better focus the relationship on collective success in future projects. An annual barometer gathers supplier perception data and makes it possible to assess progress and identify areas in which improvement is still necessary. The “supplier platform” now makes it possible to have a cross-functional view of industrial issues and to develop the strategy that aims to streamline the supplier panel and implement end-to-end performance management for the main suppliers. Regular performance reviews and a supplier development approach to support manufacturers in their progress towards excellence are the main levers.

Standardisation and replication

Standardisation and replication are the key words in EDF’s nuclear engineering ambitions today. The technical guidelines have been simplified and digitised so they can be directly integrated into the design tools. This action is continuing today to focus the technical requirements within contracts strictly on need. Mandatory Use Catalogues (Catalogues d’usage obligatoire - CADOs) have been established to reduce the heterogeneity of both equipment and suppliers. This major change increases the size of the series to be manufactured and promotes investment in process automation and skills, guaranteeing continuous quality improvement. Replication ensures both the use of tried and tested equipment and the reduction of risk.
In the field of welding, the Haute école de formation soudage, a new welding school in Cherbourg (Hefaïs) continues to grow, and will achieve its definitive structure in the first half of 2024. Accreditation of welders and the improved quality of controls and of welding works are among the aspects co-built with industry contractors with a view to "welding right first time". These practices have demonstrated their effectiveness in "stress-corrosion cracking" correcting operations.


The deployment of the GIFEN MATCH project now provides a comprehensive view, updated annually, of recruitment and training needs in the various industrial sectors and a business-by-business analysis. Fuelled by the activity forecasts of nuclear operators and the resources available to manufacturers in the sector, this vision makes it possible to define actions to be rolled out in terms of attractiveness, training and recruitment. The Université des métiers du nucléaire, founded in early 2021, oversees all actions intended to meet these needs for with skilled, trained and experienced personnel. Bringing together national and regional players in this field, the Université des métiers du nucléaire is the real driver of skill improvement in the sector. The website provides access to training, internships, work-study programs and jobs in all nuclear-related professions.

(1) French Nuclear Energy Industry Group 
(2) Project led by GIFEN for maintaining the load-resource balance within the nuclear sector