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New suppliers for Georgia nuclear power plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm •  Published: July 1, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — New suppliers will be making parts for a nuclear power plant under construction in Georgia, a development that comes after a factory struggled to deliver parts on time, a monitor for state utility regulators said Tuesday.

Nuclear engineer William Jacobs Jr. said he learned this spring that two new vendors, Oregon Iron Works and SMCI, will construct large parts needed for brand-new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle (VOH'-gohl). That facility and an identical plant under construction in South Carolina are the first new nuclear plants built in the United States in a generation.

A factory owned by CB&I in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was producing large structural modules, some weighting tens of tons, that could be picked up by a crane and hoisted into place. The technique was supposed to be faster and cheaper than building a plant part-by-part at the construction site.

However, the CB&I facility has struggled to produce the modules while meeting the detailed quality control rules required for the nuclear industry. Jacobs wrote in a recent report that the factory was "not prepared for the rigor of nuclear construction."

"Certainly there have been problems at Lake Charles getting the modules, so I guess it's not totally surprising that the consortium would go ahead and look around," Jacobs said during a hearing at Georgia's Public Service Commission. CB&I spokeswoman Gentry Brann declined to comment, referring questions back to Georgia Power.

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