Steel plates sent to Plant Vogtle fail NRC inspections

Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 6:30 PM
Last updated Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 2:02 AM
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At least 211 steel plates built for use in Plant Vogtle’s new reactors failed inspections by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The plates, or “embedments,” are structural strengthening components that can be encased in concrete and have protruding steel rebar to which other materials can be attached.

According to an NRC event notification dated Thursday, inspectors found “noncompliances and deviations” in the material, which had been received from Cives Steel Co., of Valdosta, Ga., but had not yet been used in reactor construction.

“Examples of the types of deviations identified include unacceptable welds and weld repairs, missing Nelson studs, damaged Nelson studs, improper painting, incorrect dimensions, and illegible markings for identification,” the document said.

The embedments were part of a shipment that included 892 plates, with an average size of 18 by 18 inches. The embedments can be used in walls and floors.

A more detailed investigation to determine the extent of the problem – and any potential effect on the project – will be completed by Nov. 6, the report said.

The inspectors and officials from Shaw Group, the company hired to build the $14 billion project, identified the issues before any plates had been installed, an NRC spokesman said.

Quality control issues have arisen before at the project. Other matters have involved rebar that differed from the approved design.

The plant’s owners are working to address those issues by investing more in quality assurance programs and staffers.

In an Aug. 31 interview, Buzz Miller, the executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear, told The Augusta Chronicle that as many as 150 additional workers could be needed to bolster oversight programs that ensure materials meet strict nuclear standards.

In its most recent report to the Georgia Public Service Commission, the company said final projected costs for quality assurance, oversight, operational readiness and regulatory compliance rose from a projected $621 million in 2009 to $755 million in 2012.

Quality assurance workers, he said, have been deployed in many U.S. sites where materials for the Vogtle project are being made – and to supplier venues in Japan, Korea and Italy.

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fedex227
11192
Points
fedex227 09/20/12 - 08:17 pm
2
1
Not off to a good start.
Unpublished

A missing bolt here, a faulty weld there- sheesh, pesky government regulations.

Doesn't do much to promote the 'made in America' trademark.

faithson
7739
Points
faithson 09/21/12 - 08:24 am
2
0
ditto fedex

shipping inferior materials... sounds like someone was hoping for the best

Little Lamb
62553
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 08:55 am
0
0
Fabrication

I never knew that Valdosta was a reknown steel fabrication center.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 09/21/12 - 09:57 am
0
0
Inspections Missing @ Vendors
Unpublished

Even though I own coal stock (ACI), I really think that nuclear power is the way we ultimately need to be heading. That being said, I think that construction of a nuclear reactor should be the one time, that the bids should specify, "NO Substitutions from Specs". What I see here is that the vendor of the plates, is not completeing adequate QA @ the plant. They should be told that if another shipment fails inspection, they will be removed from the project. I understand that it might delay construction, but I'd rather it be delayed, than to have an "issue" sometime in the future. Hopefully, the Shaw Group has secondary fabricators lined up. Just my two cents...

Jake
40916
Points
Jake 09/21/12 - 10:53 am
0
0
$14 Billion?

Wow, I didn't realize these reactors cost that much. How is it going to be paid for?

Little Lamb
62553
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 01:27 pm
0
0
Cost

Much of it is going to be paid for the old fashioned way, by investors buying Southern Company stocks and bonds. Obama administration offered a federal loan guarantee, but to the best of my recollection, Southern turned them down.

There is a controversial funding mechanism ongoing whereby the Ga. General Assembly passed a law (first time in Georgia) where Georgia Power ratepayers are pre-paying a little bit of the ongoing construction costs in their power bills.

Southern Company and it's investors don't get to recoup their investment until the plants start generating (of course, Southern is paying interest and dividends on the bonds and stocks all along).

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