Two milestones for Vogtle new build

01 December 2016

The first reactor pressure vessel (RPV) has been lifted into place at Georgia Power's Vogtle nuclear construction project in Georgia. Vogtle 3's RPV was lifted into place two days after the placement of the CA01 module was completed at Vogtle 4.

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Vogtle 3's RPV is craned across the site in a still from Georgia Power's time-lapse video of the lifting operation (Image: Georgia Power)

The 278 tonne RPV was lifted into its permanent location in Vogtle 3's nuclear island on 23 November, Georgia Power announced today. The vessel was fabricated in South Korea by Doosan Heavy Industries, shipped to the Port of Savannah and transported to the construction site on a specialised rail car. The operation to lift it into place was carried out by construction contractors Westinghouse and Fluor, using one of the largest cranes in the world.

The RPV, which is nearly 11 metres tall, will house the reactor core and associated components including the reactor vessel internals, and its installation marks a major milestone in the construction project. "With the placement of the unit 3 reactor vessel … we now transition to the next exciting phase of this project - moving from strictly civil engineering and construction to assembly of the unit's reactor system," Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major projects, said.

Georgia Power's executive vice president of construction, Mark Rauckhorst, said the safe placement of the RPV - the first nuclear pressure vessel installed in a plant in Georgia in over 30 years - was a "tremendous milestone" for the project. "With this placement, the unit is one step closer to completion and entering service," he said.

Work will now begin to place bulk commodities such as piping, pumps and cabling throughout Vogtle 3's reactor system. Preparations will also begin for the installation next year of the first of the unit's steam generators.

Major module at Vogtle 4

Two days before unit 3's RPV was lifted into place, Westinghouse also completed the placement of Vogtle 4's CA01 module. Some 21m long, 29m wide and 24m high, the 907-tonne module will house components inside the reactor's containment including the RPV, steam generators and pressuriser. The steel module was assembled on site, and its placement is the second-heaviest lift at the project.

Construction of the two Westinghouse AP1000s at Vogtle, near Waynesboro, began in 2013. Vogtle 3 is scheduled to start operations in 2019 and unit 4 in 2020. Two pressurised water reactors are already in operation at the site.

Two AP1000s are also being built at VC Summer in South Carolina for Scana Corporation subsidiary South Carolina Electricity and Gas and co-owner Santee Cooper. Summer unit 2's RPV was installed in August.

Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News