6,000 people now working on Vogtle nuclear expansion

Southern (NYSE:SO) utility Georgia Power released a video July 25 about quarterly construction progress at the Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear units near Waynesboro, Georgia.  

During the 11-minute YouTube video, the utility reported that there are currently more than 6,000 construction workers now onsite on the nuclear expansion project. Georgia Power expect the number of construction workers to continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.The company noted that 800 permanent jobs are expected once the new units begin operation.

Westinghouse has completed the transition that began at the first of the year,” David Jones, the utility’s nuclear development technical support vice president, said during the video presentation.

During late 2015, Westinghouse purchased CB&I Stone & Webster, the nuclear construction and integrated services business of Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI). The transaction effectively made Westinghouse the chief contractor in charge of getting the nuclear units completed.

Westinghouse has also brought in Fluor as its subcontractor at the nuclear construction site.

 Jones discussed construction strategy, as well as collaboration with the contractor and improvements driving progress with a focus on critical path activities and schedule. Jones also noted the hiring of more craft labor for the project and the opening of additional work fronts across the site.

Once all four units are online, Plant Vogtle is expected to generate more electricity than any other U.S. nuclear facility, enough to power more than one million homes and businesses across Georgia. 

Now available on Georgia Power’s YouTube Channel, the new timeline video includes:

• Construction progress through the second quarter of 2016, including the delivery of reactor coolant pumps from Pennsylvania, completion of the final “Big 6” modules (CA02 and CA03) and the completion of vertical construction of the Unit 4 cooling tower, which now stands at 601 feet. 

• Comments from John Austin, Vogtle 3 & 4 training director. Austin provides an overview of operational readiness activities and transition to operations occurring at the site including the successful turnover of multiple systems and structures to Southern Nuclear.

Completing the new units at Plant Vogtle remains the best cost option for meeting Georgia’s future energy needs, the utility said in a news release.

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 projects 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.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has hearings going on this summer in connection with construction of Vogtle Units 3 and 4. The expected completion dates are June 2019 for Unit 3 and June 2020 for Unit 4

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.