Plant Vogtle uses new safety features on latest nuclear reactors - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Plant Vogtle uses new safety features on latest nuclear reactors

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Plant Vogtle will soon become the largest nuclear power plant in the country. The facility based in Burke County continues the construction of two more nuclear reactors; making the plant the first four-unit site in the United States.

But since the $14 billion project began, concerns over Plant Vogtle's safety have been called into question.

"How are we making sure that radiation to the general public and to the site doesn't get to a level that would have any harmful impact?" said Mark Rauckhorst, construction vice president of Vogtle reactors 3 and 4.

Friday morning select organizations were invited to get a look at the new reactors. Project managers say reactors 3 and 4 are built with a safety feature that does not rely on an operator or electronic feedback if it needs to shut down in case of an emergency; unlike reactors 1 and 2 which were built in the 1980s. 

"As an industry we've learned to improve the safety of the plant and improve reliability, where the capacity factors and the units are at an all-time high levels," said Tom Tynan, site vice president of Vogtle reactors 1 and 2. 

These pressurized water reactors, will soon move into the next phase of construction. Using the world's largest crane to place this bottom head of the containment vessel into a 40-foot-deep crater, and then build on up; a process scheduled to take years. 

"Our real focus here is on safety and quality of the plant. The schedule will take care of itself as we go forward," Rauckhorst said.

Vogtle 3 and 4 are scheduled to go online at the end of 2016 and 2017. They will be the nation's first new reactors in the past three decades; a major step toward Georgia's future in nuclear energy. 

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