More adjustments to Vogtle milestone dates likely

January 13, 2021, 3:08PMNuclear News

The initial shipment of nuclear fuel for Unit 3 arrives at the Vogtle site in December. Photo: Georgia Power

Largely as a result of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, the Vogtle reactor-construction project team expects to further adjust dates for achieving key project milestones, including the start of hot functional testing and fuel load for Unit 3, Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power announced on January 11.

The company added, however, that it continues to expect to bring Unit 3 into service this November and Unit 4 into service in November 2022. Additional updates on the project will be provided during Southern’s quarterly earnings call next month.

Statement: “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear have made significant adjustments to work practices at the Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 project site, designed to protect the health and safety of the project workforce and the surrounding community while maintaining productivity,” Georgia Power stated. “Since October, the site has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, consistent with the broader regional and national rise in cases. This increase, combined with other productivity challenges, continues to impact construction production and the pace of testing activity completion.”

In case you missed it: Last October, Vogtle plant operator Southern Nuclear announced a readjustment of its July 2020 “aggressive site schedule” dates for Unit 3 hot functional testing, fuel load, and commercial operation. The dates were moved from October 2020, December 2020, and May 2021, respectively, to January 2021, April 2021, and the third quarter of 2021.

Southern Nuclear said that hot functional testing could start as late as the end of March 2021 and fuel load as late as mid-year 2021 without jeopardizing Vogtle-3’s November 2021 regulatory-approved in-service date.

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