Construction Timeline 2nd Quarter 2011
Here on the five hundred fifty acre construction site of America's newest nuclear power plant, it's easy to see the remarkable progress being made. The module assembly building rises impressively from the flat landscape and stands tall. It's finished and ready to receive components, a few of which have begun to arrive. Two hundred modules will be assembled here before being put into place, and getting those into place is a project all its own.
These cranes you see behind me will be dwarfed by the world's largest heavy lift derrick crane when it's erected here. That crane will eventually reside on what will be a sixty by sixty foot platform situated between the two reactor containment areas. The hook is rated to lift fifteen hundred tons, and that's what will be need to put the hundreds of components into place for the two new units. Some parts for the crane have already been delivered here, and it's scheduled to be assembled by the end of the year.
The heavy lift derrick crane will place numerous plant sections as deep as forty feet below ground level, into these specially excavated areas that make up the nuclear island. These are lined and reinforced with MSEs, a Mechanically Stabilized Earth system, as we discussed in our last report.
These workers are installing a multi-layered concrete working surface called a "Mud Mat" at the bottom of the containment area. This concrete floor will provide a stable working surface to install reinforcements and other features for the AP1000 foundation.
Vogtle units three and four mark the first ever Westinghouse AP1000 designed nuclear reactors to be built in the United States, but right now in Sanmen, China, the world's first AP1000 reactors are under construction, and are about two years ahead of the Vogtle project. That gives us an unprecedented opportunity to experience first hand the start-up, operation, and even refueling of the AP1000 when the Chinese bring their plant online, thanks to a learning exchange agreement between Southern Nuclear Operating Company and Shandong Nuclear Power Company.
Here at Southern Nuclear's Representative Office in Shanghai, resident project manager Yinkun Wan, and General Manager of External Alliances, Cheri Collins, both of Southern Nuclear Operating Company, are paving the way for a mutual learning experience with the Chinese, as they construct four AP1000 units.
Back in August of 2010, we wrote a memorandum of understanding with the Haiyang Power Plant, and in that memorandum of understanding, we outlined several quid pro quo style exchanges that we wished to go forward with, with our friends at Haiyang. The United States has a hundred and four nuclear reactors, and each of those reactors has been in service for many more than twenty years, and if you do the math on that, that's a couple of thousand years of safe reactor operating history.
Currently, they have about thirteen nuclear power plants in China, and they realize that they can learn a lot from the American program, and we're happy to exchange that information with them. And the Chinese are very interested in learning about our organization, how we train, how we do maintenance, how we operate our nuclear power plants. They're very interested in learning that.
The memorandum of understanding is an approved method for Southern Company. Being first-hand observers or the AP1000 Nuclear Power Plant that Haiyang is building, it will give us the opportunity to be on the front row when our friends at Haiyang take that power plant to commercial operation for the first time, to be there, and observe that.
We will take the lessons we learn from our experiences there, and apply those lessons learned back to our program and our initial operational approach for our own plants back in Waynesboro, Georgia.
People who operate nuclear power plants are dependent on each other to operate wherever the plant is and whatever country it's in, at the highest quality standards, with the safety and health of the public in the uppermost in our minds at all times, so what we do over the next three to four years, moving forward with our construction, learning as much as we can from the Chinese, it just positions us to be globally responsible nuclear power plant operators.
Thank you Cheri. The U.S. Department of Energy must approve any memorandum of understanding in which a technical information exchange with China is to take place. That approval is in progress.
At Southern Company, training nuclear plant employees has already begun, and will be continuous. The new training facility here at Plant Vogtle is almost complete, and will soon house training in nearly every discipline, including operations, maintenance, engineering, chemistry, and health physics.
Needless to say, there's a lot going on at Plant Vogtle, from the site work, to training future employees, this project remains on budget and on schedule. That's all for now. Join us again next quarter for another construction update on Vogtle Timeline.