The Integrated Head Package (IHP) has been set in place atop the reactor vessel of Vogtle 3, marking another significant milestone in the construction of the USA's first new nuclear units in more than 30 years, Georgia Power said on 12 May.
Standing 48 feet tall, weighing 475,000 pounds and containing more than three miles of electrical cables, the IHP is an integral component that will be used to monitor and control the nuclear reaction.
In addition, 12 of the 16 shield building courses of panels that surround the Vogtle 4 containment vessel have been placed. The shield building is a unique feature of the AP1000 reactor design for Vogtle 3&4, providing an additional layer of safety around the containment vessel and nuclear reactor to protect the structure from any potential impacts.
The placement of the IHP follows the completion of open vessel testing for Vogtle 3. These tests successfully demonstrated how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel, ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted. It also prepares the unit for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing ahead of initial fuel load.
Georgia Power said earlier in May that “significant progress” is being made at the site with the project now 85% complete, and direct construction of Vogtle 3 now 90% complete.
Milestones achieved in recent weeks include the placement of the Vogtle 4 polar crane and containment vessel top, signifying that all major lifts inside the containment vessels for both units are now complete.
In April, Georgia Power’s parent company, Southern Company, said the workforce at the Vogtle project was being reduced by about 20% to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, company said the schedule remains unchanged with in-service dates of November 2021 for Unit 3 and November 2022 for Unit 4. The project to build two new units at Vogtle began in 2009.
Photo: The Integrated Head Package (IHP) for Vogtle 3 has been set into place atop the reactor vessel (Photo: Georgia Power)