Joe WashingtonIt was this time last year that the first essential components for Southern Company's new AP1000 nuclear energy facility arrived from Japan at the Port of Savannah. That shipment brought the massive plates for the bottom head of the Unit 3 containment vessel.
Now, the second shipment is making Port --carrying the bottom head plates for Unit 4's containment vessel. And on site here at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia, progress continues!
The containment vessels are where the nuclear reactors will be housed. Looking at the existing containment vessels for Units 1 and 2, it's hard to really grasp the enormity of their structure and strength.
Each of the containment vessels for the new facility, Units 3 & 4, will be 131 feet in diameter, rise about 213 feet tall, and will weigh an incredible 4,000 tons.
Now…imagine what it takes to assemble these structures! Here's Matt Edmondson to tell us how it's done.
Matt EdmondsonEach containment vessel is assembled in five sections before being moved over to the nuclear island.
Right now we're getting started on welding the bottom head. It's comprised of three courses Each bottom head is made up of 62 plates.
The welding is done on this unique frame. It's a very important support structure critical to the installation of the bottom head and other parts of the vessel…alignment.
There will be close to one half million inches of weld on the bottom head alone. This translates to about 123 football fields!
Chicago Bridge and Iron was awarded the contract to fabricate and assemble both the Unit 3 & 4 containment vessels here.
Joe WashingtonThanks Matt. With all the construction activities on site working to build this facility, it's a project in itself to have the electricity supply available to conduct these activities….in other words…how do we provide the energy to build the new nuclear energy facility?
Georgia Power Company designed a system for providing a reliable source of construction electricity throughout the course of this project while making sure there are minimal interruptions.
Electricity is being brought to the site of Units 3 & 4 from the nearby Plant Wilson substation through underground cabling and associated equipment. So far, well over a mile of cabling has been laid and tested. And two pad mounted switching cubicles and a pad mounted metering cubicle have been installed.
Managing the scope of the additional energy needed for the construction site ensures that all of the ongoing activities have the electricity they need to keep the work flowing smoothly.
With construction well underway in many different areas here, the Information Technology department - or I.T. - is playing a vital role in setting up temporary construction data network and voice communications systems.
Highly reliable voice and data systems are critical in today's business world - and perhaps even more so at a nuclear energy facility. I.T. recently completed communications wiring for the 20,000 square foot construction office complex. This complex will house approximately 200 employees when complete. To be ready, more than 200 PCs and phones for engineers and other construction personnel have been installed here to help manage daily business needs.
To enhance productivity in the field, I.T., is currently working on upgrading wireless network coverage in the construction areas to allow engineers to digitally access drawings and other documents in real time.
This will enable them to see progress and address issues faster.
In anticipation of the additional voice and data needs for Units 3& 4, more than 18,000 feet of fiber-optic cable have been installed to upgrade the facility's permanent fiber infrastructure.
The new training building alone has 1400 network connections, 250 PCs, a distance learning center, and two computer labs.
By the time Vogtle Units 3 &4 are complete, there will be 2,000 phones, 1000 workstations, numerous wireless phones, network cameras, and network connectivity throughout the facility.
As Nuclear energy is re-emerging as a viable way to meet new demand for electricity with the added benefit of no greenhouse gas emissions, Southern Company is leading the nation's nuclear energy renaissance. We're on schedule to be the first U.S. utility in more than 30 years to build new nuclear-powered generation, which will be part of our diverse portfolio of smarter, cleaner energy sources.
Southern Company is the premier energy provider to the entire southeastern United States. We're committed to keeping our customers satisfied. And the construction of Vogtle Units 3 & 4 is answering the need for emission free, affordable, reliable energy.
Coming up, we'll take a look back over the past year at the major milestones and achievements for 2011. We hope you'll join us for the next Vogtle Timeline!
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