US utility Georgia Power has hired 14 operators for units 3 and 4 of its Vogtle NPP from the abandoned VC Summer nuclear project. Georgia Power told the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) that this would save nearly two years of training time and costs. The company must ensure a certain number of licensed operators are in place to support fuel loading at the two units.
In August 2017, Scana Corporation subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas decided to stop construction of two AP1000 reactors at VC Summer in South Carolina. Georgia Power has now hired 14 operators who had passed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) exam at VC Summer.
The company is required to file reports with the PSC every six months to provide an update on the progress of construction of the two AP1000 units at Vogtle. A report filed on 28 February, which covers the period from 1 July to 31 December 2017, is the first since the PSC's decision in December to approve Georgia Power's recommendation to complete the units.
The latest report reaffirms the target in-service dates of November 2021 for Vogtle 3 and November 2022 for Vogtle 4. It asserts that completing the units remains the best cost option for meeting the state's future energy needs following contractor Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in March 2017.
Construction of the units continued, with Southern Nuclear taking over as the project manager at the site and Bechtel managing construction. The report said productivity at the construction site has improved since Southern Nuclear assumed responsibility.
Over the past six months, essential equipment has been installed, including both steam generators and the pressuriser for Vogtle 3, and structural modules CA02 and CA03 for Vogtle 4. Also, 1000 tonnes of rebar and tens of thousands of cubic yards of concrete have been placed throughout the site, Georgia Power said. Major equipment, including squib valves for both units, the passive residual heat removal heat exchanger and the reactor vessel internals for Vogtle 4 have been delivered, and most of the modules and equipment needed to complete the project is now on site.
In January, the PSC approved a revised capital cost forecast for the Vogtle project of $7.3bn. Georgia Power is requesting PSC verification and approval of $448m of capital expenditures incurred during the reporting period.