Photo By Nadine M. Post for ENR
The crane tower on top of One World Trade Center, seen at left, is needed for the completion of the tower's stainless-steel spire.


Workers Erect Crane Tower for One World Trade Center Spire

Crews are installing dunnage for a new crane that will lift the pieces of the 408-ft-tall spire atop One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The primary steel structure of the future 1,776-ft-tall office building is topped out at 1,368 ft—the height of the taller of the original twin 110-story towers. The erection of the structural-steel spire will rank the skyscraper as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere when it is completed in early 2014.

Workers topped out the 977-ft-tall Four WTC on June 25. The shorter office tower is on course to be the first tower to open at the World Trade Center site since 2006, when the 52-story replacement for Seven WTC was finished. Completion of Four WTC, designed by Fumihiko Maki, is set for mid-2013.

NRC Bars Maryland Unit Build, Citing Owner's Foreign Control

In an Aug. 30 decision, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel says UniStar Nuclear Energy cannot legally build and operate the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear generating unit in Lusby, Md., because the firm is controlled by French government-owned utility EDF. It added that UniStar's application, filed in 2007 for the projected $9.6-billion, 1,600-MW unit, "will be terminated within 60 days" if the firm cannot find a U.S. partner.

An NRC spokesman says that, after 60 days, "UniStar would have to fulfill additional requirements to restart the hearing if they found a U.S. partner." Constellation Energy, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon, had owned 51% of UniStar—EDF owned 49%—but sold its stake to its French partner in late 2010. The 1954 Atomic Energy Act bars granting a power-reactor operating license to any company that is "owned, controlled or dominated" by a non-U.S. government or company.

Brazilian Court Clears Legal Challenge for Large Hydro Job

A judge in Brazil's highest court cleared contractors to resume construction at Belo Monte dam, an 11,000-MW hydropower installation on the Xingu River in the Amazon Basin. Chief Justice Carlos Ayres Brito's Aug. 27 decision overturned a lower court's suspension of the dam's license on the grounds that indigenous people in the region were not properly consulted. Immediately following the Supreme Court decision, the Norte Energía consortium resumed sitework. Opponents vow to continue their attempts to halt the project with more lawsuits.

Vogtle Nuke Plant Owners Sue EPC Team Over Disputed Bill

The co-owners of the Vogtle nuclear station in Georgia have filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Westinghouse and Stone & Webster, seeking the return of $29.3 million they paid the engineering-procurement-construction contractors in June for disputed backfill work on the two-unit expansion project. Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, Ga., said in the Aug. 23 suit in U.S. district court in Atlanta that Westinghouse and Stone & Webster on May 10 billed them $58.5 million for backfill work the contractors claim was beyond what was anticipated in the EPC contract. The co-owners say it was included. After the bill was questioned, the firms "threaten[ed] suspension of work and termination of the EPC agreement" if they were not paid at least half the disputed amount, the suit says. The co-owners paid the contractors $29.3 million on June 9.

A Westinghouse spokesman declines comment on the litigation, but says it expects to resolve the dispute. A spokeswoman for The Shaw Group, Stone & Webster's parent, also declines comment but says the dispute won't affect work.

Vikings Stadium Architect Selection Expected Mid-Month

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Stadium Authority and the Minnesota Vikings are reviewing five submissions from design teams for a $975-million National Football League stadium. The teams vying for the project, sited in downtown Minneapolis, are led by sports architects Ellerbe Becket (a unit of AECOM), Ewing Cole, HKS Inc., HNTB Corp. and Populous.

In addition to the usual proposal presentations to the stadium authority and the Vikings, which will jointly select a winner, the architects have been presenting their previous stadium designs to the public at the Mall of America. Last month, the stadium authority selected Hammes Co. as its owner's representative. The authority, formed in June, will oversee the design, construction and financing of the new "People's Stadium," which will also serve as a multi-use facility for college and amateur sports teams. Substantial completion is targeted for mid-2016.