Heavy Lifting

A Story of Flawless Execution

Anyone who works in the nuclear industry knows that building a new nuclear power plant is an incredibly complex, multi-faceted endeavor. It requires years of planning, design, regulatory reviews and approvals, and a global team of engineers, project managers, a multitude of suppliers, and thousands of craft laborers to bring the plants online. Each component, each module, and every bit of wiring, piping, valves, pumps and motors are carefully managed to ensure they are designed to specifications, and shipped to the construction site safely and without incident.

The first steam generators recently began arriving into port in December 2014 for the AP1000® plants currently under construction in South Carolina and Georgia (USA). Shipped from South Korea and making their way through the Panama Canal, these steam generators weigh more than one million pounds, and they are the heaviest shipment ever to arrive into the port of Charleston, SC.

That weight required a team of Westinghouse engineers and the global supply chain logistics professionals to develop a load distribution system to disperse the weight evenly when the steam generators are unloaded from the vessel. Otherwise, the dock and piers could buckle under the concentrated 680 tons being set down. The corner of a building at the port had to be cut out to allow the steam generator to make it around a sharp bend. Bridges were rebuilt to support the weight, track waysides were widened, underpass clearances were checked, and the Schnabel car, the specialized train car used to transport the cargo, was modified as well. Many other provisions were made, but in all this was a project that required hundreds of engineers and project personnel, 18 different suppliers, and took five years to plan and execute.

Heavy lifting was required by everyone who participated in this project, and this preparation and work that the Westinghouse teams and their suppliers executed demonstrated how much work goes into one, although significant, aspect of a nuclear construction project.

Check out this video to learn more about the project and see the trip that one steam generator made from the port to the construction site in Jenkinsville, SC.

Note: Westinghouse provided safety training and safety briefs for all personnel involved to ensure that they were aware of the risks associated with the moving of this equipment. All work was performed in accordance with Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements as applied to the vessel operator, port, railroad and construction site.