Nobody argues that configuration management of all aspects of a nuclear power plant from design to decommissioning isn't a good idea. The arguments you hear against cradle to grave CM for every system, structure, and component, including balance of plant, are that it's too complex, not required, too expensive, not requested, too difficult, too 'anything but doable', and at some point, you can almost start believing it.
And then I was reading 'The Economist' magazine the other day and ran across this advertisement, or 'advert' as they might say in the native slang of the publisher. It caught my eye sufficiently to warrant including it here, and I want you to examine it and see what you can discover. Seriously.
Before you read into the next paragraph, click on the thumbnail image of the 'advert' and it will expand into a large version you can actually read. Maybe. If you can't, then click on the Read More button below, and the text of the advertisment will be revealed. Now, what jumps out at you? (Hint - think configuration management.)
It took a minute for it to sink in with me, but what this farmer is doing is cradle to grave configuration management for every aspect of his corn production and delivery.
Now think about that for a minute. They call it identity preservation protocol, from planting in a field in Illinois to delivery to a customer in Japan. Corn, if you can believe that.
In an industry where a few years ago this would have been considered impossible. Seed in paper bags, delivered in the back of a pick-up truck, poured by hand into a seeder, towed across county roads to an open field, planted, fertilized, and grown in accordance with the protocol, picked by a mechanized harvester, hauled by open truck to a storage facility, and somehow bagged, packed, shipped and delivered to a customer in Japan, so he can dip into a bag of seed with his bare hands and toss it in the dirt for his chickens to feast on, so he can deliver premium eggs to his customers.
Impossible! But it isn't, of course, and Cargill's doing it.
It is all done at a profit, mind you, all for the purpose of making sure that Cargill's customer in Japan can keep his promise to his customers to deliver premium eggs.
I can't blame you if your first response is to say that our nuclear industry is nothing like that, because that's what people have been saying for years. But they are wrong. Our business, at a foundational level, consists of nothing more than making promises to our customers, our public, and our regulators, to operate and maintain our plant the way we promised when we designed it.
So I'll say it again - the naysayers are wrong.
Cargill is helping their customers keep their promises, and so can we.
We can't afford not to.