Reactor vessel placed inside Georgia Power’s Vogtle Unit 3

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Asia Power Week

Georgia Power announced the placement of the first nuclear reactor vessel in the state of Georgia in more than 30 years at the Plant Vogtle expansion project near Augusta. 

The 306-ton reactor vessel was lifted into its permanent location inside the Unit 3 nuclear island on Nov. 23, using one of the largest cranes in the world – a heavy-lift derrick with a 560-foot front boom. Construction contractors Westinghouse and Fluor Corp. performed the lift. The reactor vessel was fabricated by Doosan Heavy Industries in South Korea, arrived at the Port of Savannah, and was shipped to the construction site by train on a specialized rail car. 

Standing 35 feet tall, the reactor vessel functions as a heat source from the nuclear fission process to produce steam that will generate electricity for homes and businesses throughout Georgia.  

“The safe placement of the Unit 3 reactor vessel, the first to be placed in our state in decades, inside the nuclear island is a tremendous milestone for the Vogtle project,” said Mark Rauckhorst, executive vice president of construction.  “With this placement, the unit is one step closer to completion and entering service.”

This achievement is the latest in a series of recent construction highlights, including the placement of the CA01 module for Unit 4 on Nov. 21 – the project’s second-heaviest lift.  The CA01 module weighs more than 2 million pounds, or 1,000 tons, and stands 70 feet tall, 95 feet wide, 80 feet long and was assembled on site at the project’s 12-story Module Assembly Building.  The CA01 module, made entirely of steel, will house two steam generators for Unit 4, in addition to other equipment. 

Other recent milestones include:

  • Assembly of the squib valves for both units;

  • The placement of the 2 million-pound Unit 4 CA20 module;

  • The setting of the roof trusses for the Unit 3 turbine building which brings the building to its final height of 254 feet.

The expansion at Plant Vogtle is part of Georgia Power’s long-term, strategic plan for providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy for Georgians well into the future. Once Units 3 and 4 join the existing two units already in operation, Plant Vogtle is expected to generate more electricity than any current U.S. nuclear facility, enough to power more than one million homes and businesses in Georgia.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is overseeing construction and will operate the two new 1,100-megawatt AP1000 units for Georgia Power and co-owners Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units.


Video: The reactor vessel for Plant Vogtle Unit 3 was placed on November 23, 2016. It is the first nuclear reactor vessel placed in the state of Georgia in more than 30 years.

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