Westinghouse selects Charleston to handle nuclear equipment

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Chuck Crumbo
November 17, 2011

Parts weighing up to 700 tons each will be moving through the Port of Charleston en route to a nuclear power plant expansion project in Fairfield County.

Westinghouse Electric Co. signed a multi-year deal with the port to handle oversize cargo such as reactor vessels in support of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s plans to add two reactor units at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

“From a logistics perspective, this is a large, complex and important project,” said Carl Rossi, director of Global Logistics for Westinghouse. “The S.C. Ports Authority has approached it very professionally from its inception and has assisted Westinghouse in building a realistic project plan to move our cargo quickly and efficiently to the construction site.”

Overall, about 24,000 tons of equipment to be used for building Summer Units 2 and 3 will be handled at the port. Shipments are expected to begin arriving at the port’s Columbus Street Terminal in December and will continue for the next four years during construction of the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear units. Machinery and equipment for the V.C. Summer project will be carried on 30 ships.

Once the equipment is off-loaded, it will be moved by rail or truck to the power plant, which is about 26 miles northwest of Columbia, officials said.

“These kinds of project moves are labor-intensive, supporting jobs across the state’s maritime and transportation industries,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority.

Reactor vessels will be among equipment delivered by ship at Charleston, said Westinghouse spokesman Scott Shaw.

The vessels, which contain the nuclear reactor coolant and reactor core, are built by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction in South Korea and then shipped to the construction site.

The dome-shaped vessel, which is clad in steel, is about 45 feet high and 19 feet in diameter, according to the company’s spec chart.

Other parts that will be going through the port include the steam generator, turbine components and heat exchanger, Shaw said.

Jenkinsville is one of two sites where the Westinghouse reactor units are under construction. The other is Southern Co.’s Vogtle power plant along the Savannah River. Shaw said that large parts for the Georgia plant are being moved through the Port of Savannah.

Although construction has been under way for more than two years, SCE&G, an investor-owned utility based in Cayce, and state-owned Santee Cooper of Moncks Corner, are still waiting on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of a construction and operating license.

In the spring of 2008, the utilities announced they would add two 1,110-megawatt reactor units to the Jenkinsville power plant at a cost of $9.8 billion.

A final decision is expected to be made sometime in December or January, putting the project on track to complete the first reactor sometime in 2016 and the second in 2019.

Some construction — mainly site preparation — already is in progress.

The utilities, which are splitting the cost of the units with SCE&G’s share totaling 55%, operate a 966-megawatt reactor unit at the Summer plant, which began operations in 1984.

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