Idaho National Laboratory has become the first national laboratory in the Department of Energy complex to achieve certification of its quality assurance program by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to the Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) standard.
ASME provided the NQA-1 certification to INL on June 19. ASME personnel stated, “INL has demonstrated they have an exceptional QA program and now that QA program through the NQA-1 certification can be recognized and influential throughout the world.” ASME is the leading international developer of codes and standards.
An ASME audit team performed an audit of INL’s NQA-1 Quality Assurance Program the first week of April. The team reviewed INL’s compliance, learned whether employees were knowledgeable about the QA program and following implementing procedures, and observed a strong quality culture at the lab. They verified management was leading the QA program by example, employees were trained and qualified to do their work, and mechanisms were in place to improve performance and address issues.
By achieving ASME certification of the laboratory’s quality assurance program, INL has set the bar in the Department of Energy complex, demonstrating its technical and quality assurance (QA) expertise. As the only national laboratory to achieve this highly reputable third-party certification, INL is positioned to be the premier supplier of NQA-1 certified services and products.
“This distinction puts INL in a leadership role and gives confidence to customers and collaborators that INL is the best choice for nuclear research partnering and constructing new nuclear facilities, due in part to the certified quality program foundation built upon the nuclear standard used in industry,” said Mark Cox, Nuclear Safety Quality and Performance Management director.
Achieving this certification was the result of teamwork, exceptional employees doing great work and collaboration across multiple organizations and programs. “This certification enhances the lab’s outstanding reputation for the quality of its work and expands the potential for new business opportunities,” said Carol Mascareñas, Environment, Safety, Health & Quality director.
A significant benefit of the NQA-1 certification is that INL can provide a certificate of conformance for products and services, allowing customers and collaborators to demonstrate the QA pedigree for licensing applications or other purposes, eliminating further validation of the product or service, which reduces costs to customers/collaborators.
“ASME NQA-1 certification positions INL to be the leader for all nuclear research, development, demonstration and deployment,” said Juan Alvarez, deputy laboratory director for Management and Operations and chief operating officer. “We are committed to maintaining certification because it aligns with INL’s values and mission, and it is an indicator of our exceptional people and their commitment to excellence.”
About the ASME Nuclear Quality Assurance Program
The ASME Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) Certification Program provides centralized, independent, third-party certification for quality assurance programs in conformance with the ASME NQA-1 standard, “Quality Assurance Requirements for Nuclear Facility Applications.” It entails a full audit of the Quality Assurance Program performed by trained ASME auditors with an extensive background in quality assurance. A successful audit will yield a NQA-1 Quality Program Certificate.
The ASME NQA-1 Certification Program seeks to meet the needs of the nuclear industry by expanding the supply chain with organizations who are committed to understanding quality and providing high quality products and services.