On 14 March in what Westinghouse Electric Company president and CEO Danny Roderick called ‘a week of momentous progress’ Southern Nuclear began pouring the basemat concrete for the foundation of its Unit 3 Vogtle reactor, in Georgia, USA, three days after similar steps were completed on the second unit at SCANA’s V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina.
Both sites are operating under the first and second ‘combined operating licences’ issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and are building nearly identical Westinghouse AP1000 reactors.
Although the Vogtle site was licensed before the Summer project, and had been scheduled for completion ahead of it, the two projects are now on similar schedules. This is primarily because of construction delays at the Vogtle site, where two new AP1000 reactor are being added to the site’s existing two reactors, which have added at least year to the schedule. It is now scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter 2017, with Unit 4 following in fourth quarter 2018. Previous schedules called for the two new reactors to be completed in November 2016 and November 2017.
The construction monitor warned in a report to the Georgia Public Service Commission in December that the plant, which will be operated by Southern Co. on behalf of several utilities, was falling behind schedule because of what he called an unsatisfactory performance by its construction team. The experts hired to monitor the project, engineering consultancy GDS Associates Inc., advised the regulators to brace for a potentially costly delay of two to four years.
Westinghouse has eight AP1000 units currently in progress, two at the Vogtle site and two each at the the V.C. Summer site in South Carolina, and the Sanmen and Haiyang sites in China. Significant progress is being achieved in the construction of all eight units at these locations, says the company.