Reactor Vessel Placed Inside Vogtle Unit 3

The first nuclear reactor vessel at the Plant Vogtle expansion near Augusta, Ga., has been placed inside Unit 3, marking another major milestone for the much-watched project.

Plant Vogtle Unit 3 reactor vessel is prepared for placement. Courtesy: Georgia Power

Plant Vogtle Unit 3 reactor vessel is prepared for placement. Courtesy: Georgia Power

Construction contractors Westinghouse and Fluor Corp. lifted the 306-ton reactor vessel into its permanent location inside the AP1000 unit’s nuclear island on November 23. The vessel, fabricated by Doosan Heavy Industries in South Korea was shipped to the construction site from the Port of Savannah on a specialized rail car, said Georgia Power on November 30.

  1. Time-lapse video showing placement of Unit 3’s reactor vessel at the Plant Vogtle expansion. Courtesy: Georgia Power

Workers on November 21 also completed placement of the 1,000-ton CA01 module for Unit 4. The CA01 module stands 70 feet tall, 95 feet wide, and 80 feet long. It was assembled on-site at the project’s 12-story module assembly building. “The CA01 module, made entirely of steel, will house two steam generators for Unit 4, in addition to other equipment,” Georgia Power said.

  1. Time-lapse video showing placement of the CA01 module for Unit 4 at the Plant Vogtle expansion. Courtesy: Georgia Power

The Vogtle reactors are slated for completion by 2020. Two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are also under construction at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Jenkinsville, S.C. The four reactors, which have been under construction for more than three years, are considered to be more than 50% complete.

Both projects have suffered cost and schedule overruns stemming from delays in obtaining federal approval for the AP1000 design and problems with construction of plant components manufactured in Lake Charles, La. Southern Co., South Carolina Electric & Gas, and Westinghouse have also since restructured key engineering, procurement, and construction contracts to improve project management, and cost and schedule certainty.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is overseeing construction and will operate the two new units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power owns 45.7% of the new units.

“The safe placement of the Unit 3 reactor vessel, the first to be placed in our state in decades, inside the nuclear island is a tremendous milestone for the Vogtle project,” said Mark Rauckhorst, executive vice president of construction. “With this placement, the unit is one step closer to completion and entering service.”

 

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)