Friday, June 4, 2010

First US Reactor Construction Update--Southern Co. Vogtle 3/4

Southern is building the first nuclear reactors in the US.  I was wondering how construction was going so I did a little research on the Southern Co., Shaw Group and NRC websites.  Pictures from Southern Co. Website.

In August 2009, Southern Nuclear received the ESP for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4. The Vogtle ESP is the first one in the industry to reference a specific technology, Westinghouse AP1000. Additionally, Southern Nuclear's ESP comes with a Limited Work Authorization (LWA). The LWA allows limited safety-related activities to begin at the site prior to the COL being issued.

Construction began in Aug 2009.  Currently there are 700 employees working on the site preparation with 150 earth movers excavating 50,000 yds^3 per day.  Plans are for a peak of 3000 employees in 2014 during major construction.

AP1000 construction update Vogtle 3/4:
-Commenced excavation of Unit 3 on February 5 and on track to complete readiness reviews and commenced placement of 1.8 million cubic yards of nuclear safety related backfill on March 8.
-Equipment procurements continue on schedule with 79 POs placed of 79 planned
-Issued first of approximately 165 Construction Engineering packages for the First Nuclear  Concrete placement

Shaw group and the AP1000 in China:

Two AP1000s are set for the Sanmen site in Zhejiang province and two for the Haiyang site in Shandong province. Shaw celebrated major milestones in 2009 at the Sanmen site with the successful placement of first nuclear concrete and then successful placement of the world's first major AP1000 structural module. The feat is considered a tremendous engineering, design, fabrication and construction accomplishment. Placement of the 1,020-ton CA20 module ranks as one of the heaviest and largest on record for the nuclear energy industry.

Sanmen AP1000 completion is scheduled for June 2014.  As of June 2009 the project was reportedly 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

Turns out that the AP1000 has its own Facebook page.  Here is the latest news on Sanmen from April: The AP1000™ Containment Vessel first ring was successfully set in place earlier this month at the Westinghouse AP1000™ site in Sanmen, China.
China's nuclear vision and plans.

Permit process and status for Vogtle 3/4 and AP1000 Design: 
Source of Part 52 Licensing Process

NRC schedule shows completion of the Combined Operating License in mid 2011 (COL is a combined construction permit and operations liscense.  AP1000 Design Certification shows a EOY 2010 completion. A month ago I was told that the ITAAC (Inspections, Tests, Analyses, And Acceptance Criteria ) for AP100 has not been completed.  The ITAAC is required to be completed and verified as satisfactory before the licensee is authorized to load nuclear fuel.

Detailed Review Schedule for COL Application: On June 30th, the staff issued the revised safety review schedules for Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC)'s combined license (COL) application for the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) Units 3 and 4. The NRC revised the safety review schedule to reflect (1) the revised review schedule for the AP1000 design certification amendment and (2) the change in the referenced combined license (RCOL) designation for the AP1000 design center from Bellefonte Nuclear Plant (BLN) Units 3 and 4 to VEGP Units 3 and 4, The original projected completion date for the Vogtle final safety evaluation report (FSER) was December 17, 2010. The new projected completion date for the Vogtle FSER is April 12, 2011.