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QA — Not just paperwork

-Jennifer Hay

David Sands (Click to view larger version...)
David Sands
David Sands, head of the Quality Assurance Division, is a man on a mission: he wants to make ITER staff understand that as ITER is the first ever fusion plant to be licensed, the French nuclear regulator and the public need to be convinced that the ITER facility is being built and managed correctly and we work to properly approved systems and procedures. But he is also a great believer in common sense and not in bureaucracy. "Simple is best" — a policy he wants to put into practice at ITER. "Don't write a thesis when a few sentences will do, because if documents and procedures are too long and complex, users won't work to them."

David took up his post at ITER in March this year after working in industry, including nuclear, petro-chemical and off-shore, and nineteen years in European fusion, at JET. His role is to develop and maintain the ITER Quality Program and audit its implementation both at the ITER Organization and at Domestic Agencies. He is working with the Management Quality Program working group to develop a process based system that will navigated using a user friendly web page. Not only will this make documents and procedures easy to find, it will go some way towards satisfying IAEA requirements. His Division is part of the Safety and Security Department that provides independent reviews and reports to the ITER Director-General. He and his staff will develop both internal and external surveillance audit programmes as required by the regulator and to this end lead assessors and auditors will have to be trained. David will be looking for volunteers from all areas of the project to be trained as auditors so feel free to let him know if you are interested.

David is currently busy visiting all the Domestic Agencies to ensure they understand the quality procurement requirements for themselves and their contractors - it is important to get this understanding before the manufacturing process begins. It is also important that we are seen to exercise some common sense and flexibility - without this, cooperation with Domestic Agencies and their contractors will be difficult and will certainly not help the project. Soon he will be turning his attention back to developing the ITER QA management system — one that will reflect his practical approach — "just produce what's necessary!"


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