Georgia Power said late April that hot functional testing had begun for Vogtle Unit 3, marking the initiation of a preliminary stress test of primary systems prior to loading the first fuel assemblies into the reactor core.
“The testing represents a significant step towards operations and providing customers with a reliable, carbon-free energy source for the next 60 to 80 years,” the company said in a statement. Hot testing represents a milestone that separates the construction and operations phases of a nuclear power plant’s life cycle.
The tests, one of several significant recent achievements at the construction site, are conducted to verify the successful operation of reactor components and systems ahead of fuel loading. With hot testing, the plant is put through operations with pressure and temperatures that it will experience during normal operations.
“Over the next several weeks, nuclear operators will use the heat generated by the unit’s four reactor coolant pumps to raise the temperature and pressure of plant systems to normal operating levels. Once normal operating temperature and pressure levels are achieved and sustained, the unit’s main turbine will be raised to normal operating speed using steam from the plant,” Georgia Power said.
During this series of tests, technicians will be able to exercise and validate numerous procedures as required during normal operations. The full course of hot functional testing will take between six to eight weeks, the company said.
Additionally, the company said the passive containment cooling water storage tank, known (CB-20) has been lifted into place atop containment vessel and shield building roof of Vogtle unit 4, a placement that represents the last major crane lift at the project site.
This is a major part of the AP1000 reactor's advanced passive safety system. The tank, 35 feet tall and weighing more than 720,000 pounds, will hold approximately 750,000 gallons of water ready to flow down in the unlikely event of an emergency to help cool the reactor. The water can also be directed into the used fuel pool, while the tank itself can be refilled from water stored elsewhere on site.
The modules used for Vogtle 3 & 4 were made in advance of arriving to the project site and ready to be assembled into larger components that make up the nuclear units. Since 2011, major modules have been delivered to the site by rail and truck including floor and wall sections and supporting structures that surround the containment buildings and reactor vessels.
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I've operated 4 reactors and helped build 7,.....couldn't get on as QC or FE at Votgle. Can't understand it. ......JB