Construction Timeline 2nd Quarter 2012
As we move into the second half of 2012, activity here on the construction site of America's first nuclear energy facility in thirty years is bustling!
Almost a city unto itself, the construction site of Vogtle units 3 and 4 is in full gear. With the celebrated Combined Construction and Operating License in hand, work on the AP1000 nuclear reactors is moving steadily along, while the nearby turbine island and cooling tower for Unit 3 are buzzing with activity.
The turbine island is where the massive turbine and generator and associated condensers, pumps, and other systems will be housed. You can see the Unit 3 turbine island, nuclear island, and in the distance, the outline of the cooling towers for both units. The turbine island and nuclear island for Unit 4 show progress on the right.
Parts for Unit 3's condenser have already arrived! These large components will make up the 3,600 ton condensers for each unit. The parts you see here made the long voyage to the plant from South Korea where they were manufactured. From there they traveled by ship to the Port of Savannah where they were off-loaded for delivery to Plant Vogtle.
An on-site rail system has been constructed to bring these parts, as well as many others, to the areas where they're needed.
Once assembled, the condensers will be set in place inside the turbine building by the heavy lift derrick crane.
Across the footprint of the site from the Unit 3 turbine island, work is underway on the first components to be assembled inside the Module Assembly Building.
It's the CA20 for Unit 3, which is the auxiliary building module. When complete, it will be lifted and placed inside the nuclear island where it will house much of Unit 3's auxiliary systems and associated pumps, pipes, and tanks. The CA20 is one of the largest and heaviest modules that will be assembled inside this building.
Nearby, progress continues on the Unit 3 and Unit 4 containment vessel bottom heads, while welding continues on Unit 3's containment vessel lower ring.
While Vogtle units 3 and 4 are the first-ever Westinghouse AP1000 design nuclear reactors to be built in the United States, right now work is progressing on the WORLD'S first AP1000 reactors in Sanmen and Haiyang China. You may recall that about this time last year we discussed that project in depth. The Chinese are currently building a total of four AP1000 reactors - two at each location. Their construction is about two years ahead of the Vogtle project. Their first unit is scheduled to come on line late next year. They placed the reactor vessel inside the containment vessel on their first unit in Sanmen last year, and recently the condenser was set in and assembled. They plan to close the top on the first of their 4 units by the end of this summer.
As their project progresses it gives us an unprecedented opportunity to experience firsthand the start up, operation, and even refueling of the AP1000 once they bring their plants online. Currently the U.S. has about 104 nuclear reactors in service. The Chinese have about 13. So we can learn a lot from each other as work continues from one side of the globe to the other on these first-ever, new-age AP1000 electric generating facilities.
Back here at Plant Vogtle - there's a lot happening! And it takes a lot of highly trained people to keep it moving forward. Two thousand two hundred are on site now.
"Working for Southern Company and the complexity of the project we're making sure we have the most highly skilled, readily available massive number of folks to deploy to that job site to get it done on time and on budget which is critically important. The people on the job site right now have been through massive training programs and have many years experience, and continue to get upgraded training across the country."
Thanks Sean. It's said that training is the "long pole in the tent," meaning that it has to be in place first - even before any work begins on the actual generating facility.
So even before the first loads of dirt were excavated from this site, planning and preparations for training the people who will one day operate this new facility were already underway.
Because of Southern Company's solid commitment to operating a safe and reliable electric generating facility, the groundwork for the extensive and rigorous training programs for the next generation of nuclear plant operators has been in progress for years.
Recently during a ceremony here, the Vogtle 3 and 4 training program was officially commissioned as a branch member of the National Academy of Nuclear Training. It was a history-making event, as this is the first new branch established by the Academy in 22 years.
"To come out here and walk the ground and see people actually working; to talk to folks in the simulator and watch the drills in the Vogtle 3 and 4 simulator, and how impressive that is, all these things bring home the personal commitment that each of us makes to being a part of this."
"It's also a big day for us to have the CEO of INPO and Director of Accreditation to present this plaque to our employees to commemorate the initial accreditation for 3 and 4. And the way the accreditation went - it went very well - and it's just a great compliment to the leadership and the staff."
Thanks Steve. Let's take a closer look inside one of the simulators where licensed operators of the new facility receive hands-on experience. Here's Charlie Nesbitt of Southern Nuclear to give us a tour of the state-of-the-art Westinghouse AP1000 simulators.
"Welcome to the most modern nuclear plant simulator in the world, designed to replicate the Vogtle unit 3 control room. The AP1000 designed simulator consists of 16 wide panel displays as you see here; quad panel work stations for the reactor operators and balance of plant operators; quad panel monitoring stations for shift supervisors and shift technical advisors; and dual panel monitoring stations at the back of the room which double as simulator control stations.
What you see here is the final permanent AP1000 hardware. In two years the software will be upgraded to plant reference such that we can train and examine the first cadre of licensed operators just in time for fuel load of unit 3, and a year later for Unit 4."
That's an amazing set-up! Thanks Charlie. Plant operators will have to be licensed before Unit 3 comes online and begins to operate commercially in 2016. Unit 4 will go online in 2017.
Southern Company is committed to reaching new levels of excellence every day. We remain committed to providing clean, safe, and reliable energy that will sustain and improve the quality of life for our customers and their communities. These are just a few of the many reasons Southern Company was recently awarded the esteemed Edison Electric Institute's highest honor: the EEI Edison Award.
Thomas Farrell II
Our winner this morning is a company that committed tremendous resources toward building the first new nuclear generating units in the United States in 30 years. They have a tremendous track record of exceptional construction performance, concentrated regulatory efforts, and have worked to educate the public about the safety and benefits of nuclear power.
All of that adds to our success, so to say that this award goes just to Southern it really goes to the industry and the excellence that we have demonstrated over the years in our nuclear programs.
Southern Company received the award for leading the nuclear renaissance in the United States by its tremendous contribution to the electric generating industry here at Plant Vogtle. That's all for now. Join us in September for the next Vogtle Timeline!