Second new US reactor in a week under way
Construction has officially begun on a new reactor at the Vogtle power plant in Georgia. It is the second AP1000 construction to start in America this week.
Some 5350 cubic metres of concrete were poured to form the basemat for the nuclear portion of Vogtle 3. It will support the reactor itself and buildings to shield it and house fuel handling facilities and auxiliary equipment.
Buzz Miller of project leader Georgia Power said, “We are very proud of this accomplishment, and of all the hard work and collaboration that went into making it happen. This was a team effort that included Georgia Power, Southern Nuclear, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I), Westinghouse and [Georgia Power’s] co-owners Oglethorp Power Corp, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.”
First concrete at Vogtle 3 came just four days after the same milestone at VC Summer 2 – the first of two AP1000s being built by South Carolina Electric & Gas. Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick said it had been “a week of momentous progress in bringing a new generation of safe, clean reliable nuclear energy to the USA.”
Site preparation for two new reactors at Vogtle began in mid-2009, with a licence to build and operate them following in February 2012. But project leader Georgia Power encountered problems that forced it to amend its licence and use a different concrete mix. This licensing issue was resolved at the end of February but the delay pushed back start-up dates for the two new units to late 2017 and late 2018.
However, the modular design of the AP1000 and the scope of the project to build two units simultaneously have enabled Georgia Power and its primary contractors Westinghouse and CB&I (which purchased Shaw in July 2012) to continue making progress during the delay.
At its peak, about 5000 people will be involved in the twin-reactor project, and employ 800 on a permanent basis. The first two reactor units at Vogtle continue to operate through the new construction. They are 1150 MWe pressurized water reactors from Westinghouse built in the 1980s.
Source: World Nuclear News