Vogtle reactor vessel slips between Savannah, Burke County

Incident won't cause delay, official says
A misalignment between the cargo platform and the rail car caused a nuclear reactor vessel bound for Plant Vogtle in Burke County to be returned to Savannah.

A 300-ton reactor vessel bound for Plant Vogtle was stranded briefly in south Georgia this week after a malfunction with the specially designed rail car moving the nuclear component from Savannah to Burke County.

“The platform that contained the RV (reactor vessel) during transport became misaligned with the Schnabel railcar, so the railcar stopped immediately,” said Georgia Power Co. spokesman Mark Williams. “The platform and car were realigned the same day and safely returned to the port.”

The Schnabel railcar, which features extra axles that help distribute and support the weight of heavy objects, did not break, he said. Georgia Power officials said the malfunction occurred less than a mile from the port of Savannah.

The steel vessel, which weighs more than the Statue of Liberty, was built in South Korea and took three years to complete. It left aboard a transport ship that took the component to the Port of Savannah.

There was no damage to the reactor vessel or to the rail car, Williams said, and the incident will not result in delays.

Plant Vogtle is undergoing a $14 billion expansion that involves building two new Westinghouse AP-1000 reactors.

The new units were scheduled to go into service in 2016 and 2017, but contractors have said they could be delayed by a year or more. Williams said work is being done with contractors to determine a date.

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