A project management based analysis in nuclear engineering: A case study on the third refurbishment of the BR2 research reactor

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis

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Many different types of projects exist, that possess diverging characteristics depending on the sector, geography, company etc. Each industry and company has its own project management approach. As mentioned in PMI (2013, p. 20) an organisation's culture, style, structure, level of project management maturity and project management systems in uence how projects are performed. The project management discipline encompasses the planning, organising and managing of resources to bring about the successful completion of speciffc project goals
and objectives (Vanhoucke, 2013a, p. 1{2). The concept of dynamic project scheduling indicates that scheduling undergoes continuous changes that need to be dealt with by decision-making along the life of a project. It comprises three crucial dimensions, the so called Golden Triangle (Vanhoucke, 2013a), as visualised in Figure 1.1 as well:
Scheduling: Constructing a timetable which includes a start and end date for each project activity, while also considering relations between activities, resource constraints and other project characteristics. The aim is to come up with a schedule that reaches a certain scheduling objective.
Risk Analysis: Analysing the project schedule's strengths and weaknesses. The purpose here, is obtaining information about the schedule sensitivity and the impact of unexpected changes on the project objective during project progress.
Control: A project's (time and cost) performance has to be measured during its progress. The information obtained in the previous two steps is further used for monitoring and updating the project and for taking corrective actions when needed.
This Master's Dissertation focuses on the last dimension: Project Control.
Conducting a case study within the field of project management was the primer intention of this thesis. The nuclear sector, as an out of the ordinary sector, instantly came to mind.
SCK CEN was contacted and the journey of writing this thesis could begin. More precisely, the case study is actually situated within the field of nuclear engineering as the particular project of interest deals with maintenance activities within a nuclear research reactor.
The set-up is concentrated around the following research questions:
1. Providing a qualitative and quantitative analysis of a speciffc project within a speciffc field, i.e. nuclear engineering.
2. Analysing where to incorporate buffers in order to augment the schedule adherence effectiveness and effciency.
3. Based on the outcomes of research questions 1 and 2, providing a future project schedule for a similar new project.
The remainder of this thesis is organised as follows. In Chapter 2, the literature review will be discussed and a brief introduction on project management will be given. Furthermore, the relevant topics for this thesis will be clarified. In Chapter 3, the case study will be discussed.
Next, the methodology which has been applied will be covered in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 comprises the discussion of the main findings featured in the previous chapters as well as some additional remarks. Lastly, the main conclusions and opportunities for further research will be considered in Chapter 6.


Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent
Award date28 Sep 2018
Place of Publicationgent
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2018


  • BR2, Nuclear engineering, Refurbishment

ID: 4438930