Bechtel Completes Major Milestone at U.S. Nuclear Plant Construction Site
31 March 2020
745-ton reactor vessel top craned into place
A Bechtel-led construction team today placed the massive reactor building dome on Unit 4, the second of the only two new nuclear units currently under construction in the Unites States: Plant Vogtle’s Units 3 and 4 in Waynesboro, Georgia.
Weighing approximately 1.5 million pounds – more than two fully loaded jumbo jets – and measuring 130 feet in diameter and 37 feet tall, the dome, known as the “top head,” is the roof of the high-integrity steel structure that contains Unit 4’s nuclear reactor. It comprises 58 large plates, welded together, each more than an inch and a half thick. Setting was completed March 27, following a complex rigging operation.
The placement follows the installation of Unit 4’s nuclear steam supply system — the reactors, reactor coolant pumps, steam generators, pressurizer and associated piping. These are the essential elements of the unit’s nuclear power system, used to generate the steam needed to drive the unit’s turbine generator to produce electricity.
“This milestone reflects the hard work and dedication of the Vogtle 3 & 4 team as we transition these units closer to operation,” said Bechtel Project Director Brian Reilly. “We completed this important milestone safely and continue to demonstrate our commitment to deliver these units as promised for our customer and this community. This milestone indicates tremendous progress on the project, and we expect this momentum to continue throughout 2020. 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. When complete, Plant Vogtle will be the largest generator of carbon-free electricity in the nation.
The Vogtle Units 3 and 4 team is working to have Unit 3 and 4 ready for commercial operation in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Georgia Power news release