Dome builder FLEXes concrete muscle

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ABC Domes’ facilities provide near absolute protection from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires. Designed to rigorous specifications, the dome will withstand 360 mph winds, event driven missiles and seismic forces.

A U.S.-based 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.

The project was awarded to Miami-based American Business Continuity Domes, Inc. (ABC Domes) by Southern Co. in December 2013, in accordance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan. The agency issued an order with specific requirements for mitigation strategies for beyond-design basis external events.

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Dome engineers illustrate a power and pumping back up equipment storage scheme for a power plant complying with revised Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines.
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“Following the event at Fukushima, U.S. industry leaders worked together to develop a flexible, diverse coping strategy that would provide even more protection for our plants against extreme events,” says Steve Kuczynski, CEO of Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern that operates its nuclear energy facilities. “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.”

“Hopefully, we’ll never need those plans or the backup equipment,” Kuczynski continues. “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, which includes Dome Technology, and Engineering System Solutions, is also nearing completion on seven “Fukushima FLEX” domes for other U.S. utility companies.