The massive steel steam condenser for Unit 3 will weigh 3,600 tons after it is assembled and is arriving by rail as prefabricated parts.
“We’ve had some things arrive by truck, but these are the first ones to arrive by rail,” said Jeff Wilson, a Southern Co. nuclear development spokesman.
The first train rolled in Jan. 30 and another will arrive next week, he said. Both shipments originated at the Port of Savannah and were completed via a rail spur directly into the construction site. The company discussed moving components up the Savannah River by barge but later opted for rail lines instead.
The steam condenser, one of the reactor’s largest parts, converts steam used to power turbines back into water. It was designed by Toshiba and built by BHI Co., a Korean firm. The components now arriving at the site left South Korea by ship in December.
The $14 billion expansion project, for which site work has been under way three years, was given its combined operating license by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 9, authorizing both the construction and the operation of the first new commercial power reactors built in the U.S. in a generation.
The reactors planned for the site are Westinghouse AP1000 units certified by the NRC after a lengthy safety evaluation. Four identical units have been under construction in China for three years – with the first unit expected to go online in 2013 at the Samnen site.
The construction schedule calls for Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3 to go online in 2016, followed by Unit 4 in 2017.