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Bechtel Sets Top of Unit 3 at U.S. Nuclear Plant Construction Site

  • 26 May 2020
  • Americas, Nuclear, Nuclear, Security and Environmental , Press Release, Vogtle

Passive containment cooling water tank set into place at Vogtle

On May 21, a Bechtel-led construction team set a massive cooling water tank on Plant Vogtle Unit 3, the first of only two new nuclear units under construction in the Unites States. This is the final major lift for the Unit 3 team at the construction site in Waynesboro, Ga. 

The Passive Containment Cooling Water Tank module measures 35 feet tall with an outer diameter of 85 feet. The tank module, including the outfitting and rigging, weighs more than 720,000 pounds and took a year for crews to assemble at ground level. 

“This is an important milestone for the project and signifies the topping out of the Shield Building for the unit,” said Bechtel Project Director Brian Reilly.

The tank is a major part of the AP1000's safety systems. The water tank system requires no active intervention from the operator or electricity in order to bring the reactor to a safe shutdown state. The tank will hold approximately 750,000 gallons of cooling water ready to flow down into the containment vessel in the event of an emergency, even if external power is lost. The water could also be directed to top off the spent fuel pool, while the tank itself can be refilled from water stored elsewhere on site.

Fit-out and preparation continues inside, but setting the module completes the distinctive silhouette of the AP1000 design. 

“This is a significant day on the project because this is the last big, heavy lift for Unit 3,” added Reilly. “I am extremely proud of the team that completed this milestone task. They safely delivered an impressive milestone in challenging circumstances for our customer. We continue to make progress on the project as we transition these units closer to operation. We are proud to be a part of building the future of nuclear power in the United States.”

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 and 4 under the management of Southern Nuclear, the Southern Company subsidiary that operates the existing two units at Plant Vogtle. Vogtle Units 3 and 4 are the first Westinghouse AP1000 units to be built in the U.S.


Image of CB20 being set on Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia.

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About Bechtel

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.  

Bechtel serves the Energy; Infrastructure; Manufacturing & Technology; Mining & Metals; and Nuclear, Security & Environmental markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations.

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