Georgia Power marks delivery of first reactor coolant pump at Vogtle

Georgia Power announced April 18 the latest milestone for the construction of the expansion of Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia, which is the delivery of the first reactor coolant pump for the project.

Arriving via truck from Curtiss-Wright Corp. in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, the reactor coolant pump is also the first to be delivered to any U.S. AP1000 construction project. The pump weighs 187.5 tons and is a critical component of the AP1000 design as it circulates hot primary-circuit water within the reactor. There are four reactor coolant pumps needed for each unit.  

Other recent progress at the Vogtle site includes the safe placement of six new shield building panels for Unit 3, bringing the total number of panels installed to date to 20. The shield building, which encapsulates the Unit 3 containment vessel, is comprised of more than 160 individual steel panels. The reinforced individual panels can weigh 10 tons or more and be filled with concrete. Once fully assembled, the shield building will provide structural support of the containment cooling water supply and protect the containment vessel, which houses the reactor vessel and associated equipment.

The projected overall peak rate impact of the Vogtle nuclear expansion continues to be significantly less than when the project was originally certified due to lower financing rates, other benefits the company has proactively pursued and the fuel savings of nuclear, Georgia Power said. The company forecasts that, even with the new costs and schedule forecast, the peak rate impact will be approximately 6% to 7% – which is nearly half of the original rate impact forecast. Of this, approximately 4.5% is already in rates. Once the new units come online, they are expected to put downward pressure on rates and deliver long-term savings for Georgia customers.

Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 will be the first in the industry to use the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor technology. This advanced technology allows nuclear cores to be cooled even in the absence of operator interventions or mechanical assistance. Plant Vogtle was constructed with the option to expand. Operations are expected in 2019 and 2020.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.