Major systems testing is underway at Georgia Power’s Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Georgia, as the site continues to transition from construction toward system operations. The latest phase of testing, Open Vessel Testing, will demonstrate how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted.
“This is a significant step on our path towards operations,” said Glen Chick, Vogtle 3 & 4 Construction Executive Vice President. “Open Vessel Testing will prepare the unit for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing next year – both critical tests required ahead of initial fuel load.”
Open Vessel Testing will also confirm that the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed. It follows the Integrated Flush process, which began in August, to push water through system piping and mechanical components that feed into the Unit 3 reactor vessel and reactor coolant loops for the first time. Integrated Flush will clean and remove any foreign material ahead of the initial startup of the unit.
Significant progress continues at the site with recent milestones completed, including the placement of the final reinforced concrete portion of the Unit 4 shield building. The 148-cubic yard placement took eight hours to complete and, once cured, allows for the placement of the first course of double-decker panels. Also, the upper inner casing for the Unit 3 high-pressure turbine has been placed, signifying the completion of the centerline alignment, which will mean minimal vibration and less stress on the rotors during operations, resulting in more efficient power generation.
Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, with more than 8,000 workers currently on site, and more than 800 jobs available once the units begin operating.