First fuel loading at Vogtle Unit 3 scheduled for November

February 17, 2020, 4:11PMNuclear News

Vogtle Unit 3 (at left) is scheduled to begin operation in November 2021, one year ahead of Unit 4. Photo: Georgia Power

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced an opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing regarding Southern Nuclear’s notice of intended operation of Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant, located in Waynesboro, Ga. The announcement was prompted by a January 13 letter from Southern Nuclear notifying the NRC of its scheduled date of November 23, 2020, for initial fuel loading at the reactor. As required under 10 CFR 52.103(a), the notification was made more than 270 days prior to the scheduled fuel load.

A combined license was issued for Vogtle-­3 and -­4, Westinghouse-­designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors, in February 2012. The license covers both construction and operation after construction is completed if standards—known as inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAAC)—identified in the combined license are satisfied. Operation will not be permitted until the NRC staff finds that all ITAACs have been met. However, if a hearing request is granted, the NRC can allow interim operation, given reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety while the adjudicatory hearing is carried out.

The notice of opportunity to request a limited adjudicatory hearing was published in the February 12 Federal Register. Requests must show standing and must include an admissible contention detailing which ITAACs in the Vogtle-­3 combined license have not been or will not be met, including why a failure to meet the criteria would prevent the NRC from having reasonable assurance that public health and safety will be adequately protected. Environmental contentions will not be admitted. Petitions must be filed by April 13.

According to a February 11 ITAAC review status report, 122 ITAAC closure notifications, representing 30.5 percent of all Vogtle-­3 ITAACs, have been verified by the NRC staff. For the other 278 ITAACS (69.5 percent), uncompleted ITAAC notifications have been accepted by the staff, which means that the staff has determined that they sufficiently describe a proposed completion plan.

On February 11, Southern Company announced that concrete placement inside the Vogtle-­3 containment vessel has been completed, a milestone that allows for the installation of machinery that will be used to load 157 14-­foot fuel assemblies into the reactor. The planned commercial operation dates for Vogtle-­3 and -­4 are November 2021 and November 2022, respectively.

Related Articles


The American Nuclear Society wrote to Congress, urging the need for a domestic supply of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.

September 15, 2021, 3:42PMPress Releases

The United States Congress needs to take swift action to build a domestic supply of fuel for advanced reactors and to avoid future dependence on Russia for advanced nuclear fuel, the American...

Vogtle project suffers another setback

July 30, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Georgia Power yesterday announced that due to 'productivity challenges' and the need for 'additional time for testing and quality assurance,' it has revised the schedule for the Vogtle-3 and...

Special inspection begins at Vogtle-3

June 23, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a special inspection at the Vogtle new-build site to identify the errors that necessitated construction remediation work on Unit 3’s electrical...