Georgia Power has announced the latest construction milestone at the Vogtle nuclear expansion near Waynesboro, Georgia, the placement of the third of four steam generators, this one installed into the Unit 4 nuclear island.
The component weighed a hefty 1.4 million-pounds. It was lifted into place in late August, the company said.
The event “marks a significant accomplishment for the nation's only new nuclear units under construction,” the company said. The Korean-built 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,” said Georgia Power.
Although the only nuclear construction project on-going in the United States, the fate of the project was threatened recently by cost estimates that would had bumped the price of the project up $1.5 billion, including a $450 million bump for minority owner Oglethorpe Power. As such, the board of Oglethorpe Power was reportedly to rethink its options, including the possibility that the utility, which owns 30 percent of the project, might throw in the towel. If Oglethorpe decides to quit the project, it may have a domino effect causing the retreat of the project's remaining owners. Georgia Power, the largest shareholder, owns 45.7 percent, while the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) owns 22.7 percent and Dalton Utilities owns 1.6 percent. The decision from Oglethorpe is expected in September.
Other milestones at the Vogtle site over the past two weeks include the installation of the fourth and final cooling water system pump for Unit 3. Each pump, weighing 62,000 pounds each, will circulate 160,000 gallons of water per minute, taking the cool water from the cooling tower basin and circulating it through the condensers in the turbine building to help cool the steam coming off the turbines. The warm water is then recirculated through the natural-draft cooling towers, where the heat is released to the atmosphere.
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