Dome builder flexes concrete muscle for post-Fukushima nuclear plant structures

Sources: American Business Continuity Domes, Inc., Miami; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

An alliance that engineers, designs and builds disaster-resistant, reinforced concrete domes has completed the first of three Severe Accident Management “FLEX” equipment storage buildings for Atlanta-based Southern Co. The 138-ft. diameter, 38-ft. tall structure affords 15,400 sq. ft. of ground and 2,500 sq. ft. of mezzanine storage at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant in Columbia, Ala.

Southern awarded a contract to ABC Domes, which teamed with Dome Technology and Engineering System Solutions on a robust structure with a heavily reinforced shotcrete and two urethane layers. The Farley dome is built in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission response to reactor damage at Japan’s (March 2011) tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, leading to “Diverse and Flexible Coping Strategies (FLEX) Implementation Guide.”

“FLEX adds another level of safety to our proven emergency plans to ensure plant operators can maintain key safety functions even if offsite power sources are curtailed,” says Southern Nuclear CEO Steve Kuczynski. “Hopefully, we’ll never need those plans or the backup equipment, but our approach has always been to expect the unexpected and then prepare for it. This dome is a tangible example of Southern Nuclear’s commitment to ensuring our plants—and our neighbors—are even safer than they were before Fukushima.”

ABC Domes is proceeding with structures at two Southern facilities in Georgia: Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro, and Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant in Baxley, scheduled for completion in May and December, respectively. The alliance team is also nearing completion on seven “Fukushima FLEX” domes for other U.S. utility companies. —