Key Part for Nuclear Reactors Still at Port - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Key Part for Nuclear Reactors Still at Port

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It's called a nuclear pressure vessel and some opponents of the nuclear reactors project at Plant Vogtle say it's been "stranded" at the Port of Savannah since December. Whatever term one uses, the reactor vessel is still at the Port. Westinghouse, which is charge of making parts for the nuclear reactor project told me that in December there was an attempt to move the vessel (which came from Korea) to Plant Vogtle. But there was a problem and the rail car was damaged.

"It's 300 tons and Georgia Power and Westinghouse haven't demonstrated they can actually carry it to the Plant Vogtle site," says Tom Clements from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. "It is just confusing that they can't move this stranded reactor out of the port, it's just still there on this specialized rail car."

Clements says it's unclear if there are costs for shipping and storage, but wonders if there are, if rate payers will pay the price.

Meanwhile, Mark Williams from Georgia Power says project milestones were met recently in pouring concrete for the reactors. "We poured about 7 thousand cubic yards of nuclear grade concrete base mat vertical place components made on site as we build this reactor."

Williams says the reactor pressure vessel is the component that will hold nuclear material. But Georgia Power says it's not needed yet. "We won't need that until later in the year, so right now it's being safely and securely stored until the time it can be transported from the site."

Georgia power says the plant Vogtle project remains vital for electric generation for customers and the state. but Clements points out the pouring of concrete was about a year behind schedule. He wonders how long a key part will be sitting here. "I think Georgia Power needs to do some explaining about why they can't move this thing out of the Port of Savannah," Clements says.

But Georgia Power says moving the vessel is the responsibility of Westinghouse. A spokesman from Westinghouse told me that since December they have evaluated the problem and ordered new equipment to repair the rail car. But he said he had no schedule on when the equipment will arrive. He did say the reactor vessel is not damaged.

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