Interview with Jaime Zuloaga

Jaime Zuolaga
Jaime Zuloaga has been appointed Quality Manager at Enfission. With an impressive record in the nuclear business, Jaime has lived in different states and lives currently in central Florida with his family. With children spread over the US and Asia, Jaime loves to travel. At Enfission, we are committed to quality. Let’s discover more about Jaime’s work…

What were the drivers which made you excited to take over this position in a new company?

During my first meeting with Enfission staff, I learned about the very innovative fuel design being developed for use in commercial reactors. Such a development is definitely exciting as it promises to improve current technology with an out of the box approach to fuel design.

What are your roles and responsibilities?

Help develop and implement a Quality Program which will enable Enfission to license, manufacture, and sell nuclear fuel assemblies, based on Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel technology, in the US and worldwide.

Whom will you interface with, to conduct your mission?

I will interface directly with Enfission senior staff, as I will be reporting to the Vice President of Fuel Development and Quality Assurance. In order to have a sound QA program I will also be responsible for working with all personnel to ensure compliance with the prescribed quality program and in conformance with all government regulations industry standards, and customer requirements.

What are the upcoming challenges?

One of the most important tasks will be ensuring the establishment of the product design basis as it must be presented to the regulator for fuel design licensing in the US. Any and all R&D has to meet critical industry standards for testing and inspection, and also qualification of special processes, since this fuel differs in several important ways from existing commercial reactor fuel due to its unique characteristics.

You are working to implement the Enfission QA program and get Enfission in the suppliers’ approved list of utilities. What are the other tasks to be quickly put in place?

First and foremost is the establishment of the Enfission QA program, which needs to be clear on the vision, mission and company policy, and establish the basic requirements for satisfying product design, regulatory and industry standards for nuclear power plants. Creation of documented implementing procedures along with training is necessary to demonstrate compliance. As for getting Enfission on the utilities’ approved supplier lists, implementation of the quality assurance program is key. We will need to work with utility auditors to provide them reasonable assurance that the QA program is sound and that Enfission will provide products and services in accordance with their requirements.

Enfission is currently in the development phase of its Lightbridge Fuel™ product and associated manufacturing processes. What are the QA critical steps that should be considered in the R&D phase of a project to secure smooth introduction into a commercial reactor?

Design for manufacturing and inspection is key to ensure a sound foundation. Design requirements and inspection standards need to be developed concurrently. The product being developed departs from the current commercial reactor norms and is new to this industry; therefore all R&D needs to be well documented and in conformance with an accepted quality program that meets all codes and standards from its inception.