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Southern Company has been the lead utility in nuclear power revival in the USA. However, they are having serious construction problems with their two huge new nuclear plants and they are also having serious construction problems with their huge coal to gas fired power plant.

Vogtle nuclear plant

The contractor in charge of Plant Vogtle’s $14 billion nuclear expansion has initiated a series of layoffs at the Burke County site.

Gentry Brann, the vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for The Shaw Group, acknowledged the cuts in an e-mailed response to questions, but did not elaborate on how many workers are involved – or the expected duration of the downsizing.

In recent months, some phases of the project have been slowed as engineers resolved issues including rebar that was not consistent with the design approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

One of the key steps in the construction of Unit 3 was the pouring of 6,850 cubic yards of specially mixed “nuclear concrete” that must be applied in a continuous, 50-hour stream to form the basemat foundation.

That event was scheduled to occur last fall, but is now expected to commence during the first quarter of 2013.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/local-business/20...

Kemper coal to gas power plant:

In the woods of east Mississippi, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co. is pouring billions of dollars into construction of a power plant that burns coal but would emit less carbon dioxide. It’s a response to looming federal limits on carbon emissions as regulators try to curtail global warming.

Each day, as 2,600 construction workers toil away at Plant Ratcliffe in Kemper County, the big bet becomes more expensive. The projected cost is at least $2.8 billion, almost half a billion dollars above original expectations, and some estimates say it will go higher.

The Kemper plant is the most expensive project ever built by Southern subsidiary Mississippi Power Co. The company promises completion in May 2014, but some engineers monitoring construction for state regulators warn the cost could reach $3.1 billion, and completion isn’t likely until November 2014 at the earliest.

Those same engineers, with the firm Burns & Roe, say the plant’s linchpin coal-to-gas technology isn’t certain to work.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2012-12-28/southern-...

Read the gory details, then run and sell your shares of Southern Company.

Cheers,
jaagu
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However, they are having serious construction problems with their two huge new nuclear plants

A delay on a large project is not a "serious" problem. Every complex project has delays, people who have been on project teams at one point should know this. You address the issue and move on.
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A 300-ton reactor vessel bound for Plant Vogtle was stranded ... in south Georgia ... after a malfunction with the specially designed rail car moving the nuclear component from Savannah to Burke County.

“The platform that contained the RV (reactor vessel) during transport became misaligned with the Schnabel railcar, so the railcar stopped immediately,” said Georgia Power Co. spokesman Mark Williams. “The platform and car were realigned the same day and safely returned to the port.”

Georgia Power officials said the malfunction occurred less than a mile from the port of Savannah.

The steel vessel, which weighs more than the Statue of Liberty, was built in South Korea and took three years to complete. It left aboard a transport ship that took the component to the Port of Savannah.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/2013-01-10/vogtle...

... Dec. 15 attempt to move the vessel by rail was aborted after the vessel traveled less than a mile aboard a specially designed transport car, which was then returned to its storage site at the Port of Savannah.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-01-14/reactor-v...

The RV is still sitting at the Port of Savannah. Must be a big problem as to how to get the RV across the swamps to the Vogtle site. I think this RV issue will make more news. Will they need to dredge the river to barge the RV to the site or will they need to rebuild the rail line to carry the weight.
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So Southern Co. is spending $17B on nuclear and experimental coal generation. How much solar and wind capacity would $17B buy?

PF
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So Southern Co. is spending $17B on nuclear and experimental coal generation. How much solar and wind capacity would $17B buy?

Continuous operation? Zero. BTW the south has negligible wind resources so that is not really an option.
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The workforce for a large construction project such as that happening at Vogtle does not stay constant throughout all aspects of the work. During certain periods, they may need lots of people who know how to pour concrete. As the project continues, they bring in pipefitters and welders to install the miles of piping required. At other points, electricians and Instrument and Controls technicians are needed. Much of the AP1000 plants are built in modules, which allows parallel work activities in many respects. But they still need to install those modules and connect them together.

A "first of a kind" (in the US) plant such as Vogtle is going to run into small problems and delays during the construction. Those problems will be worked out, and then the lessons learned can be applied to the next set of plants to be built. This is the way engineering works.

If you are interested, the following YouTube link is the latest construction update from Southern Company, showing the progress being made and a review of the last year.

About 8 minutes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WCDkIm6dgU

- Pete
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Pete wrote: A "first of a kind" (in the US) plant such as Vogtle is going to run into small problems and delays during the construction. Those problems will be worked out, and then the lessons learned can be applied to the next set of plants to be built. This is the way engineering works.

================================

Vogtle has run into a delay of over a year out of a 5 year construction schedule. The problems it has run into are not small problems when the cause that much of a delay.

One of the major problems was that they built the basemat foundation incorrectly, then they had to go to the NRC to get a change to the approved design, then the NRC granted the design change but with the new requirement that they use higher strenth concrete which is more costly. This took months to resolve. Many other problems have also surfaced such as building of the modules.

Read and weep:

December 12, 2012

Construction of a first-of-its-kind nuclear power plant in Georgia will be delayed by more than a year, likely causing hundreds of millions of dollars in extra costs, according to a report from a state-hired monitor.

In a report filed Friday, nuclear engineer William Jacobs Jr. said he believed the first reactor will be completed no earlier than June 2017. Jacobs cautioned that additional delays are possible.

“The cost of a one-year delay in the project is in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Jacobs, who monitors the construction project for Georgia’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.

Jacobs called the performance of the team designing and building the plant – Westinghouse Electric Co. and The Shaw Group –as “unsatisfactory” in some critical areas.

Jacobs said the construction of modules has slipped because of design, fabrication and quality assurance problems.

Shaw Modular Solutions, part of The Shaw Group, “clearly lacked experience in the nuclear power industry and was not prepared for the rigor and attention to detail required to successfully manufacture nuclear components,” Jacobs said.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2012-12-12/new-plant...

Cheers,
jaagu
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