twin Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being built at Georgia Power’s Vogtle
nuclear site in the US state of Georgia are already 7.5 months behind
schedule and are likely to run over the estimated $6 billion a piece
cost, the official construction monitor has said.
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission had granted combined construction and
operating licenses for the reactors to Georgia Power’s parent company,
Southern Corp., in February.
Vogtle-3 and -4 reactors are being built under an Engineering,
Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with a consortium made up of
Westinghouse and the Shaw Group.
R. Jacobs, Jr, the independent construction monitor for the Georgia
Public Service Commission, said in testimony May 30 that the commercial
operation dates for the reactors has been pushed back from April 1, 2016
and April 1, 2017 for Vogtle-3 and -4, respectively, to November 13,
2016 and November 13, 2017, respectively.
schedule slippages can be expected, Jacobs said, noting that Southern
and Westinghouse/Shaw have yet to settle a disputed nearly $400 million
in existing additional design costs and project delays and have yet to
agree on an integrated project schedule for the reactors.
said that Shaw, manufacturer of the AP1000 modules, had yet to
demonstrate the required production rate of high quality modules to meet
my opinion, the company [Southern/Georgia Power] will need to request
an increase in the certified cost and a change in the certified schedule
to a later completion date,” Jacobs told the Georgia Public Service
amount of cost increase and schedule delay is dependent in part on the
results of the current negotiations between the company and consortium
as well as future consortium performance,” he said.
Westinghouse and the Shaw Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
said the new schedule didn’t include delays related to a redesign of a
component, the identification of which has been redacted from his
written testimony for commercial reasons.
The new dates also don’t account for delays resulting from a re-do of the nuclear island rebar installation.
said that prior to placement of first nuclear concrete, a significant
amount of construction work in the nuclear island must be completed,
including installation of multiple layers of rebar, floor drain piping,
embeds, sumps, and other design features.
installation of rebar was progressing ahead of schedule, but in April
NRC inspectors determined that the rebar installed was not in agreement
with the approved design and, additionally, its installation did not
meet the controlling American Concrete Institute code.
was discovered that approximately one year earlier, a design change was
issued by the Westinghouse/Shaw consortium that was intended to relieve
rebar congestion in the area where the first layer of horizontal rebar
meets the vertical wall.
revised design should have been evaluated and processed as a departure
or a license amendment, but that never happened and in the end the
consortium and company agreed to change the design of the installed
rebar back to a design in agreement with the DCD [approved design
documents], Jacobs said.
will involve removing some of the installed rebar and modifying some of
the installed rebar to match the [design control document] design. I
estimate that this issue will delay placement of first nuclear concrete
by approximately three months until September or October 2012,” Jacobs
Southern has acknowledged the 7.5 month delay to the original schedule,
Jacobs said, the company and the consortium hope to make up the lost
time as the project proceeds.
Jacobs expressed scepticism about the ability to make up lost time.
believe that the project schedule status is unclear because a
reasonable, achievable Integrated Project Schedule (IPS) that all
parties agree to and support does not exist at this time,” Jacobs said.
of a reasonable, achievable IPS is one of the goals of the current
negotiations between the company and the consortium, he said.
added that there are an increasing number of change orders that could
have a significant impact on the project cost and schedule going
the commercial issues impacting prospective project activities are
resolved, it will be difficult for the company and consortium to agree
upon and fully support an IPS,” Jacobs said.
cause for project delays, the responsibility for the delays, the cost
of the delays and the cost for recovering some of these delays must be
resolved before all parties can agree on a schedule, he said.
the moment, he said, the project is being managed based on short-term
forecasts showing work to be accomplished in the next 60 to 90 days.
first-of-a-kind project of this magnitude and complexity cannot be
effectively or efficiently managed using 60- to 90-day forecasts over
the long term,” Jacobs said.—David Stellfox