Southern Millwrights Help to Build America’s First 21st Century Nuclear Units

Southern Millwrights continue to play a key role for several contractors by helping Georgia Power’s Southern Company build America’s first 21st Century nuclear units at Plant Vogtle electric generating plant in Waynesboro, GA. Once complete, the massive, record-setting Vogtle site will produce enough electricity to power one million Georgia homes and businesses.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Georgia Power’s parent, Southern Company, is managing construction and will operate the two new 1,117-megawatt units for Georgia Power and the co-owners.

Vogtle units 3 and 4 will use Westinghouse Advanced Passive (AP1000) technology, featuring a pressurized water reactor that relies on the natural forces of gravity, natural circulation and compressed gases to keep the core containment from overheating. The system also requires less equipment and staff to operate the plant. 

Working first for Shaw/CB&I, Stone & Webster and now for Fluor Maintenance Services and Wachs Technical Services, Southern Millwrights have logged more than 105,000 man hours on this project with zero serious injuries. More than 60 millwrights have staffed this project at any given time.

Welding is one of the most in-demand skills that the Southern Millwrights are providing. The three most common processes used at these sites are:

• SMAW-with 7018 electrode on 3/8” carbon plate with backing in the 2G-3G-4G position.

• GTAW-with 309 filler rod on 3/8” carbon plate with an open butt in the 2G-3G-4G position.

• SMAW-with 309L electrode on 3/8” carbon plate with backing in the 2G-3G-4G position.

“We get inquiries regularly from owners and contractors about how many certified welders we have, and we are expecting those requests to continue from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina into the future,” said Wayne Jennings, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the SSMRC.

Certifying millwright welders for the Plant Vogtle site is done at the SSMRC’s training center in Augusta, Georgia, with an expert from Stone Webster serving as the certified welding instructor. Each month, the SSMRC hosts a 40-Hour Advanced Welding class in Georgia to keep pace with demand from the Vogtle site.

“We’ve taken great care to train and certify our millwrights so that they are ready for the work that’s needed at Plant Vogtle,” said SSMRC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Jennings. “Our professionals working here understand the long-term economic benefits of this project, and the importance of doing their work safely, quickly, and correctly,”

Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are expected to be placed into service in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The $10 billion building project is employing more than 5,000 construction workers and will support 800 permanent jobs. To learn more about Plant Vogtle, by downloading this brochure, or watching this television news feature.

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