(Above: Overview of the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 construction. Below: Crews at work. Photos courtesy of Georgia Power)
With its fate positively secured for the time being, crews working on the Vogtle reactor units 3 and 4 reached new construction milestones on the $25 billion project in Georgia.
Project leader Georgia Power announced in the past week that the first of four reactor coolant pumps (RCPs) was placed in the Unit 3 containment vessel where the nuclear components are housed. The RCPs will be mounted to the steam generator and circulate water from that to the reactor vessel for heat transfer.
Crews also placed shield building panels around the outside of the Unit 3 containment. The shield building, made of streel and concrete, provides structural support to the containment cooling water supply and protects the containment vessel which houses the reactor vessel and other equipment.
More than 7,000 construction workers have been on site at the Waynesville, Georgia facility. The project owners hope to complete Unit 3 by November 2021 and Unit 4 one year later.
Just two weeks ago, the Vogtle expansion faced a critical moment as four key owners voted whether to continue the project at all after billions in cost overruns, delays and the bankruptcy of contractor Westinghouse in 2017. However, Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Cooperatives of Georgia and Dalton Power all opted to continue on, despite the challenges.
If and when completed, Vogtle 3 and 4 will be the first new completed nuclear energy reactors for power generation in three decades.
(Rod Walton is content manager for Power Engineering and POWER-GEN International, the world’s largest power generation conference happening December 4-6 in Orlando. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and firstname.lastname@example.org).
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