Vogtle nuclear reactor train wreck

Ever wondered what a nuclear reactor vessel looks like? Here’s one that’s literally a train wreck, on its way to Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River.

Rob Pavey wrote for the Augusta Chronicle 10 January 2013, Vogtle reactor vessel slips between Savannah, Burke County,

A 300-ton reactor vessel bound for Plant Vogtle was stranded briefly in south Georgia this week after a malfunction with the specially designed rail car moving the nuclear component from Savannah to Burke County. Workers examine a rail car that was transporting a 300-ton reactor vessel from the Port of Savannah to the Plant Vogtle nuclear site in Burke County. A misalignment between the cargo platform and the rail car caused the component to be returned to Savannah.

“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 re-aligned the same day and safely returned to the port.”

The Schnabel railcar, which features extra axles that help distribute and support the weight of heavy objects, did not break, he said. Georgia Power would not divulge the location of the incident.

I wonder what the locals think. We’d ask them, if we knew where they were.

Well, that’s the only mishap so far, right?

Rob Pavey wrote for the Augusta Chronicle 7 January 2013, Plant Vogtle expansion: What’s ahead for 2013?

Also scheduled for the first quarter is the complex work of pouring 6,850 cubic yards of concrete that must be applied in a continuous, 50-hour stream to form the nuclear basemat for one of the new reactors.

That work was scheduled to occur last fall but was delayed while issues including noncompliant rebar were resolved.

“We’re progressing toward that point, but we have to make sure we get it right the first time,” Williams said, noting that it will involve the use of 20 to 24 trucks relaying specially formulated concrete from an on-site plant to the steel reinforced foundation area.

Sure and they’ll get it completely right, like at the last reactor permitted before these ones. Shir Haberman wrote for SeaCoastOnline.com 12 December 2012, Concrete cracks at Seabrook nuclear plant concern public,

Chris Nord pointed to the records of the Employees Legal Project, which sought to give voice to and protect Seabrook whistleblowers during the plant’s construction phase. He read documented allegations of bottles and cans being thrown into wet cement by workers, concrete being poured in adverse conditions, and supporting steel structures being cut off at incorrect levels.

Maybe somebody should have listened back in 1986 when API reported:

A new group of whistleblowers and two former Seabrook nuclear plant workers charged Monday the project has safety flaws, including empty beer cans within the walls of the concrete reactor containment building.

1986 was before that Seabrook reactor went into full operation in 1990. Maybe stopping it then would have been a better idea.

Yes, but that would never happen at this nuke, right? And it’s all just physical logistical snafus, anyway, right? Back to Rob Pavey 7 Jan 2013:

Last year, the consortium building the units filed a $900 million lawsuit against Georgia Power and other Vogtle owners, seeking recovery of additional costs it contends resulted from licensing delays, design changes and complications with the backfilling during site preparation.

Georgia Power, whose share of those costs would be about $425 million, filed its own lawsuit asserting it is not responsible for those costs.

That’s right, the companies involved have formed a circular firing squad.

What, Georgia Power worry? Remember, they can charge you even if it’s cancelled!

Maybe we shouldn’t let them slip another 15 months behind schedule while running up cost overruns of 26 times like last time at the same Savannah River site.

Here are some people you can contact to say enough is enough.