Construction Timeline 4th Quarter 2011

Construction Timeline 2011

4th Quarter 2011

Vogtle Timeline 4th Qtr 2011


Joe Washington

What a difference a year has made here at the construction site of America's newest nuclear energy facility!

The footprint of Southern Company's two new units at Plant Vogtle is now in clear view, as is the progress that has been made this year. Let's take a look back at 2011.

Several million cubic yards of special soils were backfilled and compacted during the excavation of the two new units. More backfilling will take place in the years ahead as the turbine building is constructed.

The nuclear islands for Units 3 and 4 were lined with retaining walls and now extend 40 feet into the ground.

The first components that will be put in place inside the nuclear islands are the CR-10 modules. These are the cradles on which the containment vessels will sit. Work is currently underway on the Unit 3 CR-10 at the Containment Vessel Cradle Assembly Pad. Once in place, each CR-10 module and containment vessel bottom will be surrounded by concrete.

Look at the progress that has been made just since our last report on the welding of the bottom head of the containment vessel for Unit 3. It's easy to see how this bowl shaped section will rest in the cradle of the CR-10. Another stand was recently erected for welding to begin on Unit 4's containment vessel bottom head.

Between the two nuclear islands is the circular platform for the heavy lift derrick crane. The platform has a 300 foot diameter rail-track around it. This will allow the crane to place the 1,000 ton sections of the containment vessels and large structural modules inside each of the nuclear islands. The first parts of the crane assembly are being placed on the track right now, and the 560 foot boom is currently being assembled.

The circulating water systems for both new units are in place and are now covered with concrete and soil. In this photo from October, you can still see how the pipes are laid out to and from the cooling tower on Unit 4. The cooling towers are faintly outlined in the distance. The circulating water pipe system will eventually connect to the new turbine building and condensers.

The Module Assembly Building, office complex, training facility, switchyard upgrades, IT systems, and many other construction goals have been reached on budget and on schedule.

It's a very exciting time here at Plant Vogtle where safety remains our top priority. We work to protect the public and our facilities with state of the art technology that layers precaution on top of precaution.

One major milestone we're particularly proud of is receiving the Final Safety Evaluation Report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, for the Combined Construction and Operating License.

The NRC is recognized globally as the strongest nuclear energy regulator in the world. Nuclear facilities in the United States are subject to more scrutiny and requirements than in any other country.

There are two NRC expert oversight officers on site here at Plant Vogtle, with more expected as construction progresses.

Receiving the NRC's final safety report means we don't just meet federal standards - we exceed them - with our multiple, redundant, layer upon layer of protective systems, and 24 hour a day expert oversight.

You know it takes a lot of people to reach the milestones of the past year and bring a project like this to life safely and on schedule. With one thousand eight hundred people working on site here now, everywhere you look there are experts in skilled crafts, and professionals in a wide range of trades.

We've certainly seen a lot of changes here over the past year. And it's only the beginning as Southern Company leads America's nuclear renaissance, and adds to its diverse portfolio of smarter, cleaner energy sources.

In our next report we'll look at what's ahead in 2012. That's all for now from Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. Best wishes from all of us here for a Happy New Year!