Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, primary owner of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, announced on June 23 that it is resequencing certain planned activities at Vogtle-3 and -4, the two Westinghouse AP1000 units under construction at the site near Waynesboro, Ga.
According to the announcement, Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear, the would-be operator of the new units, have made significant adjustments to work practices at the site in order to protect the health and safety of the project workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. These adjustments, the company said, along with continued challenges in electrical construction productivity, have required work to be performed differently, necessitating a resequencing of activities.
The new plan: As a result, for Unit 3, the structural integrity testing and integrated leak rate testing will occur before cold hydro testing, and the start of cold hydro testing has been moved from July to the fall of 2020. The company added that while it continues to work toward fuel loading in 2020, achieving that milestone is not required until later in 2021 to support the units’ regulatory approved in-service dates of November 2021 for Vogtle-3 and November 2022 for Vogtle-4.
What they’re saying: "Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear are continuing to employ an aggressive site work plan as part of a strategy to maintain margin to the regulatory approved in-service dates, and the resequencing of these activities reflects our efforts,” said Glen Chick, executive vice president of Vogtle-3 and -4 construction. “The project team continues to accomplish major milestones despite the ongoing pandemic, while keeping safety and quality our top priority."
Hmm: In testimony filed on June 5 with the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC), Donald Grace, vice president of engineering for the Vogtle Monitoring Group and a member of the GPSC’s public interest advocacy staff, said it was “highly unlikely” that the regulatory approved in-service dates for the new units would be met.