Photo Courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority

Italians Start Delivery of Gates for Panama Canal Expansion

The $5-billion Panama Canal expansion reached a major milestone on Aug. 19, when the first four of 16 rolling gates arrived on-site from Italy. The third set of locks comprises 16 gates, which weigh about 3,300 tons each. Constructed by subcontractor Cimolai SpA, the locks are unloaded at the Atlantic side of the canal and rolled off the ship onto a special reception dock. Each gate, 10 meters wide, 30 m high and 58 m long, will take about two to three months to install.

Duke Cancels $24.7-Billion Plant For Natural-Gas Alternative

As part of a settlement with the state of Florida, Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy on Aug. 1 announced it is terminating its EPC contract with Shaw Group and Westinghouse and is canceling plans to build a $24.7-billion nuclear powerplant in Levy County. The utility cited recent changes in the state's nuclear cost recovery law for the move. In 2008, utility Progress Energy Florida, since merged with Duke, hired Shaw Group—acquired last year by CB&I—and Westinghouse as its EPC contractor for the project, with plans to build two 1,100-MW nuclear units. At the time, the project's cost was estimated at $14 billion. The settlement also clears the way for funding a planned 1,800-MW natural-gas-fired plant, which Duke says must be on line by 2018.

Australia Designer SKM Reports Ethics Lapses on Bank Work

The World Bank has agreed to allow Australia-based engineer Sinclair Knight Merz to continue bidding on bank-financed global work under a July 24 pact that settles "improper payment" issues on unidentified projects in Southeast Asia that the firm itself discovered and reported last year. SKM says it has terminated persons believed to be responsible for the ethical breaches and expanded anti-corruption programs throughout the firm for its 7,500 employees as well as its directors, contractors, subconsultants and suppliers. Neither SKM nor the bank provided details on the projects or the nature of the payments.

Under the "conditional non-debarment," SKM will remain an eligible bidder for the next 2.5 years. The firm introduced a revamped code of conduct last November. The bank "took into account SKM's cooperation and willingness to provide evidence in support of further investigations," said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank group integrity vice president.