First containment ring for Vogtle 4

15 December 2015

The first of three containment vessel rings has been lowered into place at Vogtle unit 4, Georgia Power has announced.

Vogtle 4's first containment ring is lifted into place (Image: Georgia Power)

The ring was lifted into place in a precision operation which Mark Rauckhorst, vice president of construction for the units, said required a "tremendous amount" of planning to be accomplished safely and correctly. The heavy lift derrick used to move the 1.9 million pounds (862 tonnes) component is one of the largest cranes in the world.

Unit 4 is the second of two Westinghouse-desgined AP1000 reactors under construction at the site, near Waynesboro, Georgia. The AP1000 uses modular construction techniques, allowing construction tasks that were traditionally performed sequentially to be completed in parallel with each other. Such methods reduce the time taken to build the plant, in turn reducing plant costs and also providing greater flexibility in scheduling.

The reactor containment vessel, which will house the reactor itself, is made up of the containment vessel bottom head, three containment vessel rings and the containment vessel top head, or dome. Vogtle 4's containment vessel bottom head was lifted into place in May 2014. When complete, the containment will stand over 60 metres high with a diameter of about 40 metres.

Construction officially began on Vogtle unit 4 in November 2013, following the start of work on unit 3 in March of that year. Vogtle 3 is currently expected to begin operation in 2019, and Vogtle 4 in 2020. The units are being built by a contractor consortium of Westinghouse and CB&I/Stone and Webster. Southern Nuclear is overseeing construction and will operate the units on behalf of owners Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power Corporation (30%), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%).

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News