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Monitor: Ga. nuclear plant delayed at least 1 year

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm •  Published: December 12, 2012

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. He faulted Southern Co. and its contractors for failing to agree on a start-to-finish schedule. Jacobs said PSC staffers would consider additional costs caused by the lack of a long-term schedule as "imprudent," meaning customers should not pay for them. Ultimately, elected utility commissioners decide whether to make customers absorb those costs.

Metal bars in what will become a reactor foundation were not installed correctly, leading to delays, Jacobs said. This has pushed back the pouring of concrete at the site, a key task that must be finished before other work can begin. Miller said workers have successfully conducted a test pour of concrete.

Other problems have surfaced with suppliers. Rather than assembling the reactor in the field, The Shaw Group is building prefabricated submodules in Lake Charles, La. Those subcomponents, including some that weigh many tons, are then shipped to Georgia and welded together. Utility officials said the process would increase quality and speed up construction.

But 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. Shaw Group spokeswoman Gentry Brann said the modules meet design requirements and have not caused construction delays.


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