A 460-ton nuclear containment cradle was hoisted into place at Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3 late last week, clearing the way for placement of the vessel bottom head this year.
The bowl-shape cradle, shipped in pieces and assembled at the Burke County site, was moved into place by one of the world’s largest cranes.
The crane, or “heavy lift derrick,” has a main boom that juts 560 feet into the air and is rigged with 12 miles of steel cable. Operating the machine requires a five-person crew, and the machine was tested by lifting loads of 1,500 tons at 300 feet of reach.
The cradle was the first module to be placed in the nuclear island after the placement of the nuclear concrete. Before the containment vessel bottom head is moved into place, more concrete will be poured around the cradle.
The cradle is 18 feet tall and 288 feet wide. More than 1,300 pieces of steel were used.
The concrete poured earlier this year involved the continuous flow of 7,000 cubic yards of the specially designed material.
The containment vessel bottom head, also assembled at the nuclear power plant, will set the scene for the placement of one of the unit’s most important parts – the reactor vessel.
That component, built in South Korea and weighing 300 tons, arrived at the construction site Monday, officials said.
Officials tried to ship the unit from the Port of Savannah to the Vogtle site in January, but a misalignment with the rail transport car halted the transfer.
It was moved successfully this week and will remain stored at Plant Vogtle until it is installed.