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New Nukes

New Nukes

New Nukes

This issue of Fortune Magazine has an article about the Southern Company and their approach to new plants.  It mentioned that they had two very large holes in the ground so I called my buddy who has visited the site several times and stated they are getting on with the program. He will try to find out when they will come out of the ground.  

It is interesting to note that some of contractors failed to have their people sign the no drug use and it held up progress for 6 weeks, shades of the last go around in building nukes.

RE: New Nukes

Difficult to find people who can (1) initiate a "no drugs" policy completely?   ... and then maintain a "no drugs" for 6 years?

RE: New Nukes

Very true and getting worse especially on entry level jobs.

My contact has a business where he has to have a drug free work place by conducting the initial drug test and fairly frequent random testing.  I mentioned this before, he has to go through about 20 people to get one. As part of his screening he brings a person in on Tuesday and to see if they can count, read a rule and micrometer, follow instructions on running a machine, etc.  On Friday if they are employable he tells them to return on Monday and the first thing they are going to do is get a drug test.  He found this gem in the screening process and told him to comeback Monday. At the drug screening lab he blew the dipstick out of the sample.  When he was asked why did you smoke a joint knowing that you were going to be tested. His reply was that he felt so good he just had to smoke one.

Went back and looked at the article for a little more information.  The reactor design is the Westinghouse AP100 and a lot of it will built in China.  They showed the containment vessel under construction.
I was not aware that Westinghouse is now owned by Toshiba.  They used to build reactor internal here but moved out to Mexico and Tampa some years ago.  Put a lot of good people out of work but for us it was like finding the end of the rainbow, Our machine shop and fab shop personnel were retiring in bunches so instead of the long painful change to new people was averted by hiring journeymen essentially off the fence.  
The Westinghouse site is now a GE wind turbine facility.

RE: New Nukes

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I recall a Forbes issue from circa 1983 , where they compared 80 US reactors that were over budget and behind schedule and compared to the 20 that were underbudget and on schedule. The recurring theme was that owner-engineered plants with not more than one AE were on budget, but those with 2 or more AE's were overbudget and behind schedule.

The newest reactor under construction in Finland is now 3 yrs behind scheudle and who knwos when it will actually be completed- and with no competition for  skilled labor.

RE: New Nukes

The new plants in Georgia (Vogtle) will actually be AP1000s.  To my knowledge, they won't be building parts for the Vogtle plants in China.  There are currently AP1000 plants being built in China, so those Chinese plants will obvsiously have some of their parts made there.  The new AP1000s at Vogtle should be done in 2016/2017.

The Areva EPR in Finland has been delayed significantly, but the jury is still out on the actual reason for this.  Apparently TVO (the owner) has been difficult to work with and has changed requirements mid stream.  Areva is also footing the bill for this plant, and stands to lose a lot of money.  However, the plant should be done in a couple years.  Areva is also building EPRs in France and China, and has plans for one in Maryland.

The old way of building the plants was not conducive to saving money.  The contractors that built them charged for every hour ...  so the more hours it took, the more money they made.  The new reactors like the AP1000 and the EPR will have only one AE, and the cost of the plant will be determined and fixed up front.  If the AE goes over budget, they will lose money.

I don't think anyone will tolerate the cost overruns that occurred previously.  The contracts will be different now, and the approval process with the NRC has been streamlined.  It should go better this time around ... and it will be known by everyone up front that the plant will cost $10B.

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