New Projects, Reactors

Work on nuclear power units in Georgia reaches 10 million hours

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) on Oct 24. said the workforce building units 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle in Georgia has passed 10 million work hours. Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co., is overseeing construction and will operate the two new 1,100 MW Westinghouse AP1000 units for Georgia Power, another subsidiary of Southern Co., and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units, with a certified cost of $6.1 billion.

Approximately 2,300 people are now on site at Vogtle units 3 and 4. At peak construction, the project is expected to create 5,000 onsite jobs. There will be 800 permanent jobs when the facility is operational.

“Significant progress is being made, safely, every day on this project, which is vital to meeting the state’s future energy needs,” said Joseph “Buzz” Miller, executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear.

The milestone represents actual hours expended on the construction project site, beginning in 2009 with the Limited Work Authorization. The effort to build new nuclear units began in 2005, when Southern Nuclear sent a notice of intent letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating its intent to submit an application for an Early Site Permit for a new nuclear plant.

Work on the $14 billion project has been done on turbine islands, cooling towers and nuclear islands. Over the next several months, Southern said progress will continue to be made in the nuclear island, turbine building and module assemblies.

The Unit 3 turbine building foundation is two-thirds complete, with about 750 tons of rebar installed and 5,800 cubic yards of concrete poured. Approximately 50,000 cubic yards of concrete have been poured for the cooling tower foundations for both units, and assembly of the Unit 4 containment vessel bottom half is more than halfway complete. The world’s largest heavy lift derrick, 560 feet tall, has been assembled and is ready for use in construction.

Major components will begin arriving at the site later this year and early 2013, the first of which will be the reactor vessel for Unit 3. The Unit 3 condensers have arrived from South Korea, where they were manufactured.

Unit 3 is scheduled to go online in 2016, and Unit 4 will follow in 2017.

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