Preventing Explosions: How Power Plant Construction Contractors Make Things Safe

Building any sort of power plant requires a great deal of safety planning and design. The last thing anybody wants is a second Three Mile Island explosion, circa 1979. Whether it is a nuclear energy plant or a natural gas plant, the power plant construction contractors focus on all of the safety measures while designing and building the plant.

International and National Safety Standards

There are both national and international safety standards regarding the construction of nuclear power plants. These regulations are set forth in the IAEA's (International Atomic Energy Agency's) Safety Fundamentals and the Vienna (2015) Declaration of Nuclear Safety. National standards in the U.S. are slightly more lax, although construction regulations used by contractors are more frequently and closely followed for the safety of everyone involved. 

The Oil and Gas Industry Standards

After events in the Gulf of Mexico, Deepwater Horizon, and the Paraguana Refinery explosion of 2012, the Oil and Gas Industry revamped its construction designs for power plants and oil and gas mining plants. Natural gas only needs to leak a small amount and be exposed to the tiniest flame to create an explosion that is almost on par with nuclear accidents. Contractors who build this type of power plant have to follow the most recent construction standards set forth by this organization.

No Leaks, No Cracks, No Recycled or Low-Quality Parts

The most primary requirement for all energy plant construction is no leaks and no cracks. As long as there is no energy leaking from anywhere in the plant, the plant is deemed safe and ready to open for use. This means that absolutely every cooling tower, every holding tank, and every point of ignition or fission tank has to be airtight. No parts for construction can be sub par or recycled to reduce the risks to employee health and eliminate fires and explosions.

Observing OSHA Standards as Well

Finally, the contractors have to observe OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) standards, too. This is the organization that investigates infringements of personal safety of employees. Likewise, the regulations that apply to keeping employees safe have everything to do with constructing safe (or safer) environments. 

All common areas, places where employees walk or climb stairs, etc., are built to follow these standards. When they are constructed and deemed complete, building inspectors and OSHA officials inspect the work to make sure it meets all state and federal safety standards. When the plant passes ALL of the above, it is ready to begin producing consumable energy for the public.