Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) claims their new steel plate concrete building method may reduce overall construction time by 10 months while saving 200 billion won ($147US million) for every two 1,400 megawatt reactor units built. South Korea plans to build eight new reactors by 2016 -- all of them are to use this construction method. A commercial reactor usually takes seven years to build at a cost of trillions of won, depending on power output.
The state-run company said the PC method uses prefabricated sections made by two steel plates embedded with "studs" that are made at factories and shipped to the construction site. Once they are in place, concrete is poured into the space between the plates to form solid walls. "This method is safer, faster, reduces environmental pollution and can be used in the construction of industrial plants and other facilities," a KHNP spokesperson said. The official said the new method was roughly two years ahead of similar research being conducted abroad.
In the past, contractors relied solely on the reinforced concrete method to make specially designed walls at nuclear power plants that required steel reinforcement bars to be built in place, molds to be set up to outline walls, and the space created by the molds filled with cement.
[Source: Yonhap News, "S. Korea develops process to cut time, cost to build nuke reactor", April 9, 2009]