Bechtel applauds the historic accomplishment recently made by Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear to receive its first nuclear fuel shipment for Vogtle Unit 3. This represents the first nuclear fuel delivery for the newly designed AP1000 reactor.
In order to receive nuclear fuel, construction of specific areas of Unit 3 had to be completed and inspected, ensuring critical infrastructure, such as the fuel vault and spent fuel pool, met construction quality and design requirements. Before the Bechtel-led construction team turned over the fuel handling area of Vogtle Unit 3 to the operations team, the Vogtle 3 & 4 site implemented specific and comprehensive policies, procedures, and security measures to safely receive, handle, and store the nuclear fuel. Unit 3 construction is now approximately 96 percent complete.
With the receipt of the first nuclear fuel assemblies, the Vogtle 3 & 4 project remains focused on one of the last major milestones ahead for Unit 3, hot functional testing. This series of tests is the last critical step before fuel load and ultimately, in-service operation.
“Our congratulations go to Georgia Power, Southern Nuclear, and the thousands of people who have worked to reach this significant milestone,” said Bechtel project director Brian Reilly.
A crane lifts the conical roof onto the shield building for Plant Vogtle Unit 4.
Construction progress continues
The Bechtel-led construction team also recently set the Vogtle Unit 4 Shield Building roof, which provides protection for the containment vessel that houses the reactor. The Unit 4 Shield Building roof weighs two million pounds, more than two fully loaded jumbo jets. It measures 135 feet in diameter and 37 feet tall.
Reilly noted, “The project is making good progress thanks to the hard work of our team. With the Unit 4 Shield Building roof placement complete, only one major crane lift now remains for Vogtle Unit 4, the massive cooling water tank, which is part of the AP1000 reactor’s advanced passive safety system. These milestones mark major steps for the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project toward operations, which will provide Georgians with a new carbon-free energy source.”
Bechtel would also like to congratulate Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear on the following milestones recently achieved:
- Condenser Vacuum – Vogtle 3 & 4 completed the pre-operational condenser vacuum test of the Unit 3 turbine system, which is necessary to demonstrate the steam supply and water-cooling systems operate together. In preparation for this milestone, the turbine was previously tested and rotated on its turning gear to verify it was assembled with quality and as designed.
- Completion of Cold Hydro Testing for Unit 3 – Confirmed the reactor's coolant system functions as designed and verified the welds, joints, pipes, and other components of the coolant system and associated high-pressure systems function as designed when under pressure.
- Emergency Preparedness Drill – Vogtle 3 & 4 completed a required emergency preparedness exercise for a simulated emergency event for Vogtle Unit 3. Teams demonstrated their ability to effectively and efficiently respond and protect the health and safety of the public.
- Vogtle 3 & 4 Operators Receive Licenses – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the first operator licenses to 62 reactor and senior reactor operators for Vogtle 3 & 4. To receive a nuclear operator license from the NRC, license holders must demonstrate they possess the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely and effectively operate the plant.
With more than 7,000 workers on site, and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia.
Bechtel has completed more than 74,000 megawatts of new nuclear generation capacity and has performed engineering and/or construction services on more than 80 percent of nuclear plants in the United States and 150 plants worldwide.
Bechtel is responsible for completing construction of Vogtle Units 3 & 4 under the management of Southern Nuclear, the Southern Company subsidiary that operates the existing two units at Plant Vogtle. Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are the first Westinghouse AP1000 units to be built in the U.S.