JENKINSVILLE — SCE&G along with Santee Cooper placed the reactor vessel in the containment building of V.C. Summer Unit 2 on Aug. 30, making it the first reactor vessel to be set at a new nuclear plant in the United States in more than 30 years.
The cylindrical-shaped reactor vessel will house fuel that powers the reactor along with other related components. The robust, protective steel structure is approximately 35 feet tall and weighs approximately 305 tons.
Because of its significant weight, the reactor vessel was transported from the Port of Charleston to the construction site on a specialty rail car, which is designed to carry heavy loads. One of the largest cranes in the world, a heavy lift derrick with a 560-foot front boom, lifted the reactor vessel and placed it in its permanent location.
“Successful placement of the Unit 2 reactor vessel is a very significant milestone on our path to completing the construction of the two new nuclear units,” said Kevin Marsh, SCANA chairman and CEO. “This accomplishment is representative of the collaboration among many people who are working hard every day to provide a clean and reliable energy future for South Carolina.”
Lonnie Carter, president and CEO of state-owned utility Santee Cooper, congratulated the Westinghouse-Fluor team for hitting several important milestones this summer.
“I congratulate them for the good progress they are achieving,” he said. “When these units come online, the customers of Santee Cooper and SCE&G will enjoy clean, non-emitting and reliable electricity for decades to come.”
SCE&G and co-owner Santee Cooper are building two 1,117-megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in Fairfield County. Westinghouse is the contractor, and Fluor is the construction manager.
Approximately 3,800 Westinghouse personnel and subcontractor workers are on site daily. When the two units start generating electricity, SCE&G anticipates more than 60 percent of its generation will be non-emitting. SCE&G is the principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation.
In July and August, SCE&G achieved two construction milestones by placing the final two super modules in the containment vessel of the V.C. Summer Unit 2 nuclear reactor.
Workers placed the CA03 super module in the nuclear island July 20 and the CA02 super module Aug. 5. Considered super modules because they are too large to transport and therefore require on-site assembly, CA03 and CA02 weigh approximately 250 tons and 60 tons, respectively.
These structural steel modules are walls that are key components of the In-Containment Refueling Water Storage Tank (IRWST). The IRWST is a large, stainless steel-lined tank filled with water to absorb heat within containment and provide back-up cooling for the reactor vessel when the unit goes into operation.
Prior to these heavy lifts, super modules CA01, CA04, CA05 and CA20 were placed in the Unit 2 nuclear island using one of the largest cranes in the world—a 560-foot tall heavy lift derrick. Together these modules comprise the “big six” major structural components associated with Unit 2.