First above-ground structure raised at new reactors

Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 8:02 PM
Last updated Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 1:03 AM
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Contractors raised the first above-ground structure Friday at the site where the nation’s two newest nuclear reactors in 30 years will be housed.

The erection of a single concrete support for one of Plant Vogtle’s reactor cooling towers is a significant milestone in the $14 billion project because work for the past two years has been on the foundations of various buildings, according to Mark Rauckhorst, the vice president of construction for Southern Nuclear, the operator of the plant.

The structures that will house the reactor and its containment building required 90 feet of excavating before concrete, steel and dirt could be put back and then built upon. The volume of dirt moved could have built the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt six times.

The sites for those structures still have 40-foot openings that will form a kind of basement for the reactor buildings.

With Friday’s placement of the strut for the first cooling tower, the scene around the 3,150-acre construction site – one of the largest building projects in the South – will begin to change.

“Everything’s kind of below the surface,” Rauckhorst said. “Well, today, the first X brace on the Unit 3 tower is going to get stood up. That will be the first piece that is actually above ground.”

The underground work, including the pipes for steam and cooling water, represents roughly 40 percent of the whole project, which is to last until the reactors begin generating electricity in 2016 and 2017.

“What’s going to happen in 2013 is we’re going to go vertical,” he said. “We’re coming out of the ground. ... Now the landscape of this whole project is going to change dramatically in the next 12 months. People will now see, wow, this thing is coming together.”

Asked if there would be a “topping out” ceremony as is common when the highest girder is installed on a skyscraper, the executive grinned and said he didn’t know.

The workers themselves or Shaw, the construction company, may organize one out of pride.

Another major milestone for the project will be the arrival of the first reactor vessel from Japan.

Company officials won’t provide details about how and when for security reasons, but they said it has already passed through the Panama Canal.

It will be the first center for a reactor core brought into the U.S. since the electric industry stopped building nuclear plants in the wake of the Three Mile Island incident.

And there will be the 54-hour continuous pours of concrete for each containment building.

An on-site concrete plant and a dedicated fleet of trucks will supply the material, which must be poured at one time so that it fuses into one seamless, watertight piece.

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OpenCurtain 12/08/12 - 07:43 am
Inflation over 25 years

Quoting Parts of a article by Kristi E. Swartz
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday, January 29, 2012
"Cost estimate in 1971 to build the first two Vogtle units: $660 million.

Final cost, in 1987, to build the first two Vogtle units: $8.9 billion

Estimated cost in 2012 to build two new units at Plant Vogtle: $14 billion"

Up $7.3BILLION from original projections

In all fairness, it is estimated that about 50% of the original cost overruns, had to do with the 3 mile Island and Chernobyl accidents requiring greater and much needed safety features.
So about 30% of the rest has to do with inflation over 25 years.

Less we forget. We had a Fed Minimum Wage of $2.00 p/Hr when Plt. Vogtle started vs. Fed Minimum Wage of $7.25 p/hr now.

Given Examples:

Utility’s cost for nuclear fuel per kilowatt hour in 2010: 0.66(cents)

Utility’s cost for coal fuel per kilowatt hour in 2010: 4.53(cents)

Utility’s cost for gas and oil fuel per kilowatt hour in 2010: 5.75(cents)

bubbasauce 12/08/12 - 01:11 pm
Jobs! That's all I have to

Jobs! That's all I have to say.

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