An Inside View: US Federal Government Approves Yet Another Nuclear Energy Plant for Construction

30 Mar, 2012

[Approx. Read Time: 2 minutes]

Reference: http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2012/03/nrc-approve-col-for-vc-summer.html

Julie Ezell, NA-YGN Member

Julie Ezell, NA-YGN Member

Six years out of college and I never dreamed I would be here – working on a project to license and construct two new nuclear units.

Working at SCE&G has afforded me the opportunity to be involved in many aspects of the project.  I was part of the team that wrote and submitted the COL application to the NRC, answered requests for additional information, participated in site audits and inspections, participated in preparations for ACRS and Mandatory hearings and serve as the lead for the ITAAC (Inspections, Tests, Analyses and Acceptance Criteria) program.

Life on the project has been busy, dynamic, and challenging with frequent trips to Washington, D.C. for public meetings with the NRC and sometimes working late nights and weekends to meet deadlines.

One thing that still amazes me every day is the collaborative and open nature of the industry.  I interact daily with utilities from all over the southeast who are also pursuing the opportunity to build an AP1000 to share information and work together.  The thing I enjoy most about my job is the dedicated team that I have the opportunity to work with.  Many of the people on the project were involved with the construction and start-up of Unit 1 and bring that experience to the team.  It has been very rewarding for me to watch the site preparations progress in the six years I have been here, and one of the more impressive activities was the assembly of the Heavy Lift Derrick (HLD).  I am excited to be a part of this team and am looking forward to the affirmation session for the VC Summer Units 2 and 3 Mandatory Hearing Decision, the culmination of many years of hard work from many parties.

VC Summer Nuclear Plant new construction aerial view.

VC Summer Nuclear Plant new construction aerial view.

11-10-26_0028

Excavation for the Unit 2 turbine building. The large pipes you see are for circulating coolant water from the condenser to the cooling towers.

Excavation for the Unit 2 turbine building.  The large pipes you see are for circulating coolant water from the condenser to the cooling towers.

Excavation for the Unit 3 nuclear island–where the reactor will be located.

Assembly of the lower containment bowl support structure.

Assembly of the lower containment bowl support structure.

Construction continues on the foundations for Unit 2's cooling tower.

Construction continues on the foundations for Unit 2′s cooling tower.

Bigge Heavy Lift Derrick on-site. The world's largest super crane.

Bigge Heavy Lift Derrick on-site. The world’s largest super crane.

Chicago Bridge & Iron employees welding the lower containment bowl.

Chicago Bridge & Iron employees welding the lower containment bowl.

About the author

Related Posts

9 Comments

  1. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further description of the 1st picture:
    “In the center is the blue HLD main boom being assembled on the ground. Unit 2 excavation is on the left, Unit 3 is on the right. The 10-story steel Module Assembly Building is the largest structure. Above left the circular foundation is for a cooling tower. At the bottom you can see some of the new switchyard (which is larger than Units 2 and 3 combined). Lower right you can see the lower containment bowl being assembled.

    So are big excavations for the turbine buildings or for the containment & aux buildings?
    Both excavations are adjacent, so its basically one big hole.

    I assume that they only have started making one containment bowl at this point because I don’t see another in the picture. Is that Unit 2’s containment bowl even though it is near Unit 3’s excavation? That’s right.

  2. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 2nd picture:
    The large pipes are for circulating water from the condenser to the cooling towers. Above the excavation you can see they are assembling the blue HLD sections.

    How big is the internal diameter of the pipe? 10 feet

    What is your source of cooling water? Broad River

    I remember hearing that many new plants will actually link into municipal waste water supplies like Palo Verde currently does and like Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are planning to do. Will VC Summer do the same? No, we use river water. Even in the 500-year drought, VC Summer Units 2 & 3 will use less than 1% of the river flow.

  3. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 3rd Picture:
    Is that the bedrock I am seeing? That’s the bedrock all right.

  4. Morgan Davis
    March 30, 2012

    This is really awesome! Thank you for sharing your story and these pictures!

  5. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 4th Picture:
    This containment bowl appears to be built on a concrete pad of some kind. Is it the actual concrete base? Not the permanent base, just a temporary assembly pad (remember, we don’t have the license yet). After the concrete basemat is poured, this structure is placed in the hole, then the bowl is placed on top. Then more concrete, and modules are placed in the bowl.

  6. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 5th Picture:
    What is that in the background? That’s the 10-story Module Assembly Building in the background. The side of the MAB comes off to allow moving the completed module outside for the HLD to place it.

    Can you list a few of the major components that will be built/assembled in there? All the modules will be assembled there (something like 20 per unit). The largest module is called CA-20, which is the aux building/spent fuel pool (basically a 7-story building). After the module is assembled and placed, then we pour concrete into the module and it becomes a building. Depending on the module, it may have all its components installed (piping, conduit, valves, pumps, etc.) before the module is placed. Due to the procurement timelines, some components will be installed after the module is placed. The submodules are built in New Orleans and shipped to the site by truck and rail. Some large items will be shipped to the port of Charleston and then brought to the site by rail.

  7. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 6th Picture:
    Really, just how big is this crane? The boom is 560 feet long, and we plan to make module lifts of up to 1700 tons. On a clear day, this crane is visible from over 25 miles away!

    Does this HLD service the construction of both units simultaneously (I really just mean on the same day without having to move the HLD)? That’s right, the HLD runs on a 360° ring track between the units, so it will work on both sides. The HLD is not designed to be moved off the rails until after Unit 3 is complete. The vertical shaft on the back side connects the rear boom to the counterweight. The HLD has 2 large diesels (i.e. train locomotives) which rotate the crane around the counterweight.

  8. Nicolas Hernandez
    March 30, 2012

    Further Description of the 7th Picture:
    Tell me more about the welding of the lower containment bowl? It is being done by Chicago Bridge and Iron (coincidentally the same company that built Unit 1’s reactor vessel back in the 1970s).

    What exactly will happen to this containment bowl? The bowl will be moved by the HLD into the excavation once the concrete basemat is poured onto the bedrock (see picture 3) and steel lower structure is complete (see picture 4).

  9. August 04, 2013

    Howdy,
    This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group
    of research volunteers and starting a new project
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work
    on. You have done a extraordinary job!

Leave a reply