Subsurface utility engineering creates safer worksites

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Knowing the location of your underground utilities before beginning any construction project can create safer work sites. That’s why the Major Projects group at Progress Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, NC, incorporates subsurface utility engineering (SUE) in its construction projects.

McKim & Creed’s SUE technicians used vacuum excavation to expose underground utilities at Progress Energy’s Brunswick Nuclear Facility.The Brunswick facility is one of four nuclear power sites operated by Progress Energy. According to a company news release, in 2008 the four nuclear plants generated 46 percent of the energy provided to customers in the Carolinas service territory and 18 percent of the energy provided to Florida customers.

Progress Energy is committed to operating safe and secure nuclear facilities. By using SUE, construction managers can pinpoint under-ground structures, prevent damage to utilities and help keep the facility operating safely and securely during construction.

SUE incorporates nondestructive, geophysical investigating techniques that enable engineers and surveyors to verify the existence, condition and exact location of underground utilities. SUE services include four different quality levels, ranging from gathering information solely from existing utility records (Quality Level D) to vacuum excavation (Quality Level A), in which test holes are dug to determine the precise horizontal and vertical position, as well as size and type, of underground utilities.

McKim & Creed conducts Quality Level A SUE (utility mapping) services at the Brunswick facility. So far, SUE has been used to locate utility lines within the critical areas of a proposed Variable Frequency Drive foundation project, a Security building, and a Dry Fuel Storage facility.

“Progress Energy has seen the usefulness of SUE,” says SUE manager Sean Patterson, CST IV. “It’s turned into a big damage prevention movement.”

Visit McKim & Creed to read more.

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