Vogtle Expansion At 87 Percent Completion

In a Georgia Public Service Commission filling at the end of August, Georgia Power said construction for Plant Vogtle’s expansion was 87 percent completed with Unit 3 completion expected in November 2021 and Unit 4 completion expected 12 months later.

Vogtle ExpansionThe two-reactor expansion project that Georgia Power took over in 2017 after Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection is the only active nuclear power construction site in the United States. Construction began on Unit 3 on March 2013, making it the first construction start in the country for a nuclear reactor project in more than 30 years.

With the completion dates one year and two years away, the 7,000 on site workers are rolling through a long list of construction milestones. For 2020, the milestones include:

  • Operation of the Unit 3 main control room - Operators begin monitoring and controlling the technology and equipment essential for testing the unit's systems and safely starting the plant.
  • Placement of the Unit 3 shield building roof - The two-million-pound roof covers the top of the shield building, which provides an additional layer of safety around the containment vessel and nuclear reactor to protect the structure from any potential impacts.
  • Final concrete placement inside the Unit 3 containment vessel - Completing this milestone is an important step that allows for the installation of machinery that will be used to load fuel into the unit.
  • Ordering the first nuclear fuel loads for both units 3 & 4. Consisting of 157 fuel assemblies with each measuring 14 feet tall, the fuel will eventually be loaded into the reactor vessels to support startup once the reactors begin operating.
  • Placing the containment vessel top heads for both units, marking that the project’s final major lifts inside the containment vessels are complete. The containment vessel is a high-integrity steel structure that houses critical plant components.
  • Completing the first emergency preparedness drill for the new units, which includes a comprehensive review of the site's plans to ensure the protection of the public. The emergency preparedness plan specifies the response actions if the site were ever to experience an incident.
  • Finalizing Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees for the Vogtle 3 & 4 project. Through the company’s $5.13 billion loan guarantee capacity with the DOE, Georgia Power customers are expected to save approximately $550 million in financing costs overall.
  • Placement of the final module (CB-20) for Vogtle 3 – The water tank that sits atop the containment vessel and shield building roof and will hold approximately 750,000 gallons of water ready to flow down in the unlikely event of an emergency to help cool the reactor
  • Placement of Unit 3's integrated head package atop the reactor vessel, which will eventually be used to monitor and control nuclear reactions inside reactor vessel
  • Completion of open vessel testing for Vogtle 3 demonstrating how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessels ensuring the paths are not blocked and confirming operations of pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components
  • Placement of the polar crane and containment vessel for Vogtle 4, signifying that all major lifts inside the containment vessels for both units are now complete.

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