Bechtel has announced that the company’s construction team completed the installation of a cooling water tank on Plant Vogtle Unit 3, the first of two new nuclear units under construction in the Unites States, in Waynesboro, Ga., the company reported on Wednesday.
“This is a significant day on the project because this is the last big, heavy lift for Unit 3,” said Bechtel Project Director Brian 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.”
The 35-foot Passive Containment Cooling Water Tank module has an outer diameter of 85 feet. The tank module, including the outfitting and rigging, weighs more than 720 thousand pounds and was assembled at ground level in one year.
The tank will play a major role in the AP1000’s safety systems. The water tank system does not require active intervention from the operator or electricity in order to bring the reactor to a safe shutdown state.
Bechtel’s tank will hold approximately 750 thousand gallons of cooling water ready to flow down into the containment vessel in the event of an emergency, and will retain operability in the event of lost external power. 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.
Bechtel will continue 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.
“This is an important milestone for the project and signifies the topping out of the Shield Building for the unit,” added Reilly. “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.”
In addition to the work Bechtel has completed at Unit 3, the company-led construction team placed the massive reactor building dome on Unit 4, the second of Plant Vogtle’s Units 3 and 4, the company announced in April 2020.
Bechtel’s nuclear reactor weighs approximately 1.5 million pounds and measures 130 feet in diameter and 37 feet tall. The dome is the roof of the high-integrity steel structure that contains Unit 4’s nuclear reactor, comprising 58 large plates. 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.
Bechtel has completed over 74 thousand megawatts of new nuclear generation capacity and has performed engineering and construction services on more than 80 percent of nuclear plants in the United States and 150 plants worldwide.
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.