Containment concreting milestone at Vogtle 3

12 February 2020

Workers have completed the final concrete placement inside the containment vessel of unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant near Waynesboro, Georgia. Georgia Power said this allows for the installation of machinery that will be used to load fuel into the AP1000 reactor, which is scheduled to enter service in November 2021.

Construction of Vogtle unit 3 (Image: Georgia Power)

A total of 8945 cubic metres - more than 22,000 tonnes - of concrete has been placed within unit 3's containment vessel since construction began. The vessel, more than 36 metres in diameter and over 65 metres high, is designed to confine and contain radiation in the event of an accident.

A second AP1000 is being built as unit 4 of the Vogtle plant. Georgia Power said the final concrete placement of the operating deck of unit 4 has now been completed "marking the last substantial concrete placement ahead of the containment vessel top lift in the coming months." The company noted that more than 520,000 cubic metres of concrete have been poured for the two units since the start of the project.

Construction of unit 3 began in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the construction project in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Vogtle 3 is scheduled to enter service by November 2021 and unit 4 by November 2022. Major systems testing began in November at Vogtle 3 in preparation for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing later this year. The unit's licensee, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, has told the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission it plans to begin initial fuel loading on 23 November.

Four Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are already in commercial operation at Haiyang and Sanmen in China.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News