Engineers To Develop Guidance On Disproportionate Collapse

The Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers is seeking volunteers to join a two-year project to develop a standard for the mitigation of disproportionate collapse in buildings. Among its many provisions, the standard likely will address the risk assessment necessary to determine the need for extra collapse resistance against extraordinary damaging events. In another standards action, SEI/ASCE plans to release for public comment an updated standard on seismic rehabilitation for existing buildings; that standard is expected in May. ASCE/SEI 41-13 is scheduled for completion in September; it will be posted on SEI's website in the fall and published late next year. ASCE 41-13 is expected to be referenced by the 2013 editions of the model building codes.

Nuclear Energy

NRC Grants Licenses for Two New Plants in South Carolina

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 30 issued combined construction and operating licenses for two nuclear units at the V.C. Summer power station in Jenkinsville, S.C. About 1,000 workers are on-site performing early site preparation, say utility project owners South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper. The units will be completed in 2017 and 2018. Two Westinghouse AP1000 units of 1,117 MW each will be added to the site, which now houses a single 1,006-MW reactor. The approval is the second this year for Westinghouse's advanced design reactor. In February, the agency approved two units at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. Westinghouse also plans to apply to the U.S. Energy Dept. for up to $452 million in funding to rapidly license its small modular reactor, which is modeled on the AP1000 design. DOE is considering small modular technology for commercial operation by 2022. The firm will seek funds with a consortium of utilities.

Wind Energy

Eight Firms Vie for Leases To Develop Offshore Projects

Eight companies expressed interest in obtaining commercial leases to develop wind farms off the coast of Virginia, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said on April 3. The agency has initiated a review of submitters' legal, technical and financial qualifications to hold an Outer Continental Shelf renewable- energy lease and to determine competitive interest, it says. Companies submitting bids were Apex Virginia Offshore Wind, Arcadia Offshore Virginia, Cirrus Wind Energy, Dominion Resources, enXco Development, Fishermen's Energy, Iberdrola Renewables and Orisol Energy US. The area offered for lease includes 19 whole blocks and 13 partial blocks on the outer shelf, which is located 23.5 miles off the coast and extends about 13 miles east. Once the agency determines that there is interest by multiple companies that qualify, it will auction the blocks.