Today the ANS Nuclear Cafe Matinee features the impressive transformation going on at the Plant Vogtle -3 and -4 construction site near Waynesboro, Georgia.
Last year saw the completion of many milestones at the site—it was only in February 2012 that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted the construction license for the AP1000 reactors now being built. Take a look at this short video to see the latest.
Construction Timeline 4th Quarter 2012
One year ago this landscape began to reveal America’s first nuclear facilities to be built in 30 years. And look at it today! What an impressive transformation here at Georgia Power Company’s Plant Vogtle construction footprint. Let’s go to Mark Rauckhorst for an update on the progress here.
“I would describe the success of this project as centered around the people. The people that are here in Southern Nuclear, Shaw, Westinghouse, and the contractors and sub-contractors that are part of the first nuclear project in 30 years.”
“It’s our people, our teamwork, and also our teamwork in working together with our consortium and our partners at Southern.”
“We’re working collaboratively in three organizations to come together to get the right plan and the right organization so we can be successful.”
Thanks Mark. 2012 has proven to be a year of reaching remarkable goals and achieving extraordinary milestones. Let’s cap off this year by taking a look back at the progress.
It was truly a historic event in February when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the Combined Construction and Operating Licenses for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4. These were the first COLs ever issued in the United States for a new nuclear energy facility.
Receiving the COL means the NRC determined that the design of the plant is safe and meets all regulatory requirements.
Georgia Power’s solid commitment to operating a safe and reliable facility that will sustain and improve the quality of life for customers and their communities remains the first priority.
The COL cleared the way for construction of the AP1000 reactors.
This year also saw the completion of a state-of-the-art training facility here at Plant Vogtle, including two 3rd generation, all-digital simulators. Because they were built prior to construction of the plant, the simulators are both prototypes and exact replicas of the most modern nuclear plant control room in the world. These AP 1000 simulators are in use 16 hours a day now as Operations training is in full swing! The first group of Vogtle 3&4 reactor operators and senior reactor operators are scheduled to take their first NRC written exam in the summer of 2014, followed by their first simulator exam in late fall of 2014.
Earlier this year, our six Operations training programs were accredited by the National Nuclear Accrediting Board. Following accreditation, Vogtle 3 and 4 was officially commissioned as a branch member of the National Academy of Nuclear Training. We are held to the highest standards in everything we do by independent nuclear regulating agencies and experts. In fact, American nuclear facilities are the most strongly regulated in the world – and that’s the way it should be.
On the construction site, the progress on the nuclear island and turbine island for each unit is steady and visible. The Unit 3 condenser is almost complete, and components for the Unit 4 condenser have arrived. Soon the Unit 3 cooling tower leg sections will be moved into place. Each leg weighs more than 52 tons and is 40 feet tall. Similar progress on Unit 4 will follow as scheduled in 2013.
When we talk about moving things around here on this construction site, it’s no easy task!
This containment vessel bottom head for Unit 3 weighs 879 tons including the external rebar. It was recently moved to a holding area by these incredibly powerful crawlers. This was done to get it closer to the heavy lift derrick that will eventually set it in place, as well as to free up work space so that fabrication of the Unit 3 containment vessel middle ring can begin. Here’s Chris Defnall with more.
“Mammoet, the heavy haul contractor on site, is using ten mechanically hydraulic crawlers to move the containment vessel bottom head approximately 2,000 feet. The Unit 3 Containment Vessel is being taken to a section of the heavy haul road just south of the nuclear island to be positioned closer to the heavy lift derrick crane. Once positioned down here on the heavy haul road, the internal rebar will be installed. After the internal rebar is installed, it will go to the nuclear island.”
Thanks Chris. Crawling along at 2 miles per hour, the move took just less than two hours to complete. The cradle that will support this bottom head is scheduled to be set inside the nuclear island in early 2013.
…and the reactor vessel for Unit 3, which will one day hold the nuclear fuel, has been shipped from South Korea. In the coming year components and other materials that have been fabricated all over the United States and the world will continue to arrive on a regular basis. More than 35,000 jobs will be created around the U.S. from the use of various suppliers and contractors who are providing valuable parts for this project.
Nuclear energy is an important part of America’s solution for energy security and independence. Plant Vogtle will provide Georgians with a safe, clean, reliable and efficient source of energy for decades to come. Our customers deserve it and expect it, and our commitment to it is the foundation of our success.
“It has been a tremendous year and successful in the fact that we had ten million work hours without a life altering incident. We’re continuing to train and educate our folks in nuclear safety culture. Tremendous success this year at Vogtle 3 & 4.”
Thanks Monty. It has certainly been a remarkable twelve months here at the site of America’s nuclear renaissance! In our next report we’ll look at the exciting growth and continued progress that lie ahead in 2013. Until then, best wishes from all of us here for a safe and Happy New Year