Reactor vessel in place at Summer unit 2

31 August 2016

VC Summer unit 2's reactor vessel was placed inside the unit's containment yesterday, the first such operation to take place in the USA in over 30 years.

The vessel is craned into position (Image: Scana)

The steel vessel, which is over 10 metres tall and weighs 278 tonnes, will lie at the heart of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor currently under construction at the South Carolina site. It was transported from the Port of Charleston on a special rail car and lifted into place by one of the largest cranes in the world. The vessel will house the reactor core and all associated components including the reactor vessel internals which support and stabilize the core within the reactor vessel, as well as providing the path for coolant flow and guiding movement of the control rods.

Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major projects, said the placement of the vessel signaled a "pivot point" for the construction phase of the project. "With the reactor vessel in place, the focus will shift to installing the steam generators later this year, and then the plant will start to come to life with initial energization of systems next year," he said.

Two AP1000s are being built at VC Summer for Scana Corporation subsidiary South Carolina Electricity and Gas and co-owner Santee Cooper. Westinghouse is the contractor for the project, and Fluor is the construction manager. Construction began on both units in 2013, with unit 2 expected to enter operations in 2019 and unit 3 in 2020. A single pressurized water reactor unit is already in operation at the site.

Scana chairman and CEO Kevin Marsh said the placement of the unit 2 reactor vessel was a "very significant milestone" on the path to completing the two new units.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News