Stronger concrete might resolve deficient Vogtle rebar

Monday, Aug 6, 2012 4:34 PM
Last updated 7:39 PM
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Issues with noncompliant rebar installed at the site of Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant’s new Unit 3 reactor could be resolved by increasing the strength of concrete to be poured around those steel rods, according to Southern Nuclear’s newest request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The issue surfaced in April, when federal inspectors determined that the manner in which pieces of rebar were connected differs from specifications approved for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being built at the Burke County site.

Southern Nuclear proposed modifying the rebar that was already in place, but the idea was rejected by NRC staff.

Last week, the company proposed a new solution in which the compressive strength of the nuclear concrete to be poured around the rebar would be increased – from 4,000 pounds per square inch to 5,000 pounds per square inch.

That change, according to the company’s request, would give the structures the desired resistance to seismic activity and bring it into full design compliance.

Regulators responded in a letter dated Friday that Southern Nuclear will be allowed to proceed – at its own risk – with the plan to use stronger concrete while the NRC evaluates the formal request for a license amendment.

If the request is later denied, however, Southern Nuclear will have to go back and “return the plant to its current licensing basis,” the letter said.

The $14 billion expansion includes two new reactors near the site’s two existing units. The new units are scheduled to go online in 2016 and 2017.


Read the preliminary license amendment request here:

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/06/12 - 04:52 pm

One of the selling points of the AP1000 was supposed to be that they were not going to design as they went along. The entire design was to be approved as a packager and the licensee was expected to build to spec. Now Southern is trying to wiggle and design on a dime to avoid meeting the approved specifications.

It's early in the game folks. The NRC needs to order them to take the non-conforming re-bar out of the ground and put in the correct stuff.

grinder48 08/06/12 - 05:05 pm
Where were the inspectors?!

I never understand how these things happen. If the rebar were inspected as it was assembled and correction required at the time the deficiency was discovered, why would we have this problem? Are they not inspecting with sufficient frequency? Make 'em tear it all out and do not allow them to pass the cost on to consumers! Idiots!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/06/12 - 06:00 pm
It's amazing how many people

It's amazing how many people don't know what they speak of!

bubbasauce 08/06/12 - 10:12 pm
I got $100 bucks that says it

I got $100 bucks that says it does not go online until 2018. Any takers?

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