The Vogtle expansion project’s Unit 3 reactor has attained 100 percent energy output—the first time it has reached its maximum expected output of approximately 1,100 MWe, Georgia Power announced yesterday.
Testing at the 100 percent power level is focused on the operation of the reactor, plant control systems for the reactor and support systems, and integrated plant operations, according to the announcement.
Once all startup testing is successfully completed, Vogtle-3 will enter commercial operation, the utility said. That much-longed-for event is expected to take place sometime next month.
Official words: “Unit 3 is currently undergoing testing through the full range of plant operations, including safely running at various power levels and operating through real-life conditions, just as it will over the next 60 to 80 years after the unit enters commercial operation,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Georgia Power. “As we enter the final stages of startup testing, reaching 100 percent power for the first time is an exciting milestone. It tells us we’re close to finishing the unit safely and bringing it online to power Georgia homes and businesses with reliable, emissions-free energy for decades to come.”
In case you missed it: Vogtle-3 reached initial criticality in early March of this year and was connected to the electric grid on April 1. And earlier this month, Vogtle-3’s companion unit, Vogtle-4, completed hot functional testing.
In addition, the delivery of nuclear fuel for Vogtle-4 has commenced. “A total of 157 fuel assemblies necessary for the safe and reliable startup of Unit 4 are currently arriving by truck in shipping cannisters designed to transport non-irradiated uranium fuel assemblies,” Georgia Power said in yesterday’s announcement. “Once delivered, assemblies are removed from the cannisters, one by one, and lifted into the fuel handling area, where they are inspected and safely stored in a fuel vault prior to fuel load, which is projected to occur later this year.”
Vogtle-4 is scheduled to enter commercial service in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.