The Integrated Head Package (IHP) for Vogtle Unit 3 has been set into place atop the reactor vessel at Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Georgia, marking another significant milestone in the construction of the nation’s first new nuclear units in more than 30 years.
Standing 48 feet tall, weighing 475,000 pounds and containing more than three miles of electrical cables, the IHP is an integral component that will eventually be used by highly-trained nuclear operators to monitor and control the nuclear reaction that will occur inside the Unit 3 reactor vessel. Currently, these operators are monitoring and controlling the technology and equipment essential for testing the unit’s systems and safely starting the plant.
This milestone brings the unit another step closer to loading nuclear fuel inside the reactor.
In addition, 12 of the 16 shield building courses of panels that surround the Unit 4 containment vessel have been placed. The shield building is a unique feature of the AP1000 reactor design for Vogtle 3 & 4, providing an additional layer of safety around the containment vessel and nuclear reactor to protect the structure from any potential impacts.
The placement of the IHP follows the completion of Open Vessel Testing for Unit 3 that successfully demonstrated how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted. It also prepares Unit 3 for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing – both critical tests required ahead of initial fuel load. The milestone confirmed that the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed.