Bechtel reaches construction milestone at $25B Georgia nuclear plant

Nellie R. Ortiz

Dive Brief:

  • Bechtel accomplished a important construction milestone at the Vogtle Electric powered Creating Plant close to Waynesboro, Georgia, this week when it established into location a passive containment cooling h2o tank. This, in accordance to Bechtel, is the last important raise at the two-device nuclear energy plant, which is operated by Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co.
  • Brian Reilly, job director for Bechtel, said placing the tank in spot represents the topping out of Device 4’s shield developing. The passive containment cooling drinking water tank steps 35 ft tall and has an 85-foot outer diameter. The tank module, which involves outfitting and rigging, weighs 360 tons.
  • The Vogtle plants’ Models 3 and 4 are the only two nuclear electricity vegetation below development in the U.S. Bechtel mentioned it has had more than 7,000 workers on the jobsite, which, counting the long term work that have been produced, tends to make Vogtle the largest work opportunities-manufacturing construction challenge in the condition of Ga. Bechtel has carried out both the design or engineering for a lot more than 80% of the nuclear crops in the U.S.

Dive Insight:

Bechtel said the very first of 1,485 big device modules arrived on the Vogtle site in 2011, even though the final arrived at the challenge in 2019. All modules had been produced offsite and arrived at the project prepared to be assembled into much larger modules that make up each and every of the two units. The modules provided plant components like ground and wall sections, as well as the supporting buildings that encompass the containment buildings and reactor vessels. 

The Westinghouse AP1000 units the firm is working with are the 1st to be built in the U.S. 

Bechtel stated the AP1000 plant’s passive security systems require no operator actions to mitigate possible crisis cases, due to the fact they use only normal forces such as gravity, normal circulation and compressed fuel to reach their security function. No pumps, followers, diesels, chillers or other lively equipment are employed, other than for a several basic valves that quickly align and actuate the passive basic safety methods.

The tank will maintain roughly 750,000 gallons of cooling drinking water prepared to movement down into the containment vessel in an emergency to assistance amazing the reactor, even if exterior electric power is missing. The drinking water can also be directed to prime off the expended gas pool, whilst the tank by itself can be refilled from water stored somewhere else on web site. 

Rising charges and the individual bankruptcy of Westinghouse delayed the task, but development went back into complete swing soon after Georgia Energy, also a subsidiary of Southern Co., introduced that cooling tower homeowners — Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities — had attained an agreement on how to deal with about $2.3 billion in additional prices. The project’s charges are approximated at $25 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In accordance to the U.S. Vitality Data Administration, as of Oct. 31, 2020, there were being 56 professional nuclear electricity crops in operation in the U.S. The services are in 28 states and include things like 94 nuclear power reactors. Of the nuclear electric power plants at present in procedure, 32 have two reactors and 3 have a few reactors. The previous nuclear reactor to occur on the net was the Watts Bar Device 2 in Spring City, Tennessee, which began commercial operation in October 2016.

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