Bechtel To Manage Plant Vogtle Expansion

Georgia Power announced Friday that it has contracted with global engineering, construction and project management firm Bechtel to manage daily construction efforts at the Plant Vogtle expansion project. Bechtel will work under the direction of Southern Nuclear, the Southern Company subsidiary which operates the existing units at Plant Vogtle.

Vogtle containment ring"We have seen a marked increase in productivity throughout this year, with the best improvement being the most recent improvement, and our experience provides every indication that we can do a better job than Westinghouse alone as we move forward to complete the project," said Paul Bowers, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia Power. "Since Southern Nuclear assumed control of the site from Westinghouse at the end of July, momentum has accelerated with a consistent focus on safe, high-quality construction. We expect this trend to continue with Bechtel."

The new units at Plant Vogtle will be the first in the United States to use Westinghouse AP1000 technology, one of the most advanced and safest nuclear designs in the world. Westinghouse remains on-site providing engineering, procurement and licensing support, as well as access to intellectual property needed for the project.

The construction of the new Vogtle units is driving thousands of American jobs and will create nearly 800 new nuclear careers once operational, including careers for many veterans of the armed services. More than 6,000 workers from across the country remain on-site today working to complete the nation's first new nuclear units in 30 years.

Recent milestones include:

  • August 15 – Placement of the 1.4 million-pound steam generator into the Unit 3 nuclear island. Steam generators, measuring nearly 80 feet long, are heat exchangers used to convert water into steam using the heat produced in a nuclear reactor core. Each new AP1000 unit at Plant Vogtle requires two steam generators, all of which are currently on-site.
  • August 18 – Placement of the Unit 4 pressurizer compartment. The pressurizer compartment was assembled on-site and is 60 feet tall, 40 feet wide and weighs 240,000 pounds. It will house the AP1000 pressurizer inside containment, which maintains the system pressure during operation and limits pressure transients. During the reduction or increase of plant load, the pressurizer accommodates volume changes in the reactor coolant.
  • August 19 – Placement of the second of four accumulator tanks for the project. Part of the Westinghouse AP1000 passive core cooling system, accumulator tanks are spherical tanks that hold borated water inside the containment vessel within the nuclear island. In the event of a loss of reactor coolant, the tanks are designed to provide a high rate of coolant flow into the reactor for several minutes. There are two accumulator tanks per unit with each tank weighing approximately 85,000 pounds and standing more than 17 feet tall. Fabricated in and shipped from Italy, all four accumulator tanks needed for the completion of the units are now on-site.

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