Landmark lift completed at Vogtle project

30 March 2020

The containment vessel top head for Georgia Power's Vogtle unit 4 has been lifted into place, marking the completion of all major lifts inside the containment vessels for Vogtle 3 and 4. The project to build two AP1000 reactors at the site near Waynesboro, Georgia is now about 84% complete.

The vessel top head is lifted into place (Image: Southern Company)

The top head is 130 feet (39.6 metres) in diameter, 37 feet tall, and weighs nearly 1.5 million pounds (680 tonnes) and is made up of 58 large plates which are welded together. The lift was completed almost a year after the same step was completed for Vogtle unit 3.

"Placement of the unit 4 top head is a culmination of the hard work and dedication of the Vogtle 3 and 4 team as we continue on the path to operation," said Vogtle 3 and 4 Construction Executive Vice President Glen Chick.

The 300-ton polar crane installed inside Vogtle 4's containment vessel prior to the lift will be used during refuelling outages, once the plant is in operation, to disassemble the reactor vessel and remove the reactor vessel's integrated head package. The crane will now undergo testing to ensure design requirements have been met and that all crane functions are operational, after which it will be used to assist in construction activities to place components inside the reactor vessel.

Construction of Vogtle 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. 

Researched and written by World Nuclear News