Pipe Difficulty Delays Startup of New Vogtle Nuclear Unit | Technoscoob

Startup of the primary of two new reactors on the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia is being pushed again to no less than April, one month after officers with Georgia Energy had deliberate to start out producing electrical energy from the unit.

Georgia Energy, a part of Atlanta-based Southern Co., introduced the newest setback for the oft-delayed two-unit enlargement venture at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. The corporate on Jan. 11 stated startup might be delayed attributable to a vibrating pipe within the cooling system, which was famous throughout current testing of the Unit 3 reactor.

Georgia Energy spokesperson Jacob Hawkins stated the issue is “not a security concern.”

Two New Reactors

The enlargement venture entails development of two, 1,100-MW AP1000 reactors at Vogtle.  Items 1 and a pair of at Plant Vogtle have operated since 1987 and 1989, respectively. Georgia Energy owns 45.7% of Plant Vogtle. Three different venture companions—Oglethorpe Energy Corp., the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia (MEAG), and the Metropolis of Dalton Utilities—personal the remaining 54.3%.

The Vogtle enlargement is the primary new, giant nuclear energy plant development venture within the U.S. in additional than 30 years. Georgia Energy is constant development on Unit 4 on the web site, and officers have stated that reactor ought to enter operation subsequent yr.

Hawkins stated the issue with Unit 3 was discovered throughout startup testing. The vibrating pipe is a part of the reactor’s automated depressurization system. A brace is required to offer the pipe with extra help, in line with Hawkins.

New Submitting with Federal Regulators

“Southern Nuclear expects to file a license modification request with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Fee to assist expedite the remediation,” Georgia Energy stated Wednesday. The corporate additionally stated it expects preliminary criticality for Unit 3 will occur subsequent month, with the reactor prepared to start working in April. Southern Nuclear will function the reactor on behalf of Georgia Energy and the venture’s different energy utility house owners, together with Oglethorpe Energy, the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia (MEAG), and town of Dalton.

Gas was loaded into Unit 3 in October of final yr, with testing going down over the previous few months. Chilly hydro testing of Unit 4 was accomplished in December.

Georgia Energy stated that transferring the in-service date for Unit 3 previous the primary quarter of 2023 “is estimated to end in extra base capital prices for Georgia Energy of as much as $15 million pretax monthly, in addition to the associated allowance for funds used throughout development and any extra associated development, help assets, or testing prices.”

The Vogtle enlargement venture was authorized by state regulators in 2012. The primary of the 2 new reactors was supposed to start working in 2016, however quite a few delays have pushed the startup date again a number of occasions. Delays even have contributed to value overruns; the anticipated unique value of $14 billion has greater than doubled to greater than $30 billion.

Darrell Proctor is a senior affiliate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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