Vogtle-4 plant in home stretch, connects to grid

March 4, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News
Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle-4. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Vogtle Unit 4 synchronized and successfully connected to the electric grid on March 1, just two weeks after reaching initial criticality.

This milestone is one of the final steps to completing Southern Nuclear’s long-awaited Vogtle project, adding the second of two large-scale reactors to the United States’ fleet in as many years—the first such additions to that fleet in more than three decades.

What’s next: Connecting to the electric grid is part of ongoing startup testing for Vogtle-4. Now, operators will continue to raise reactor power while performing tests at various power levels, ultimately bringing the plant up to 100 percent power.

Once all startup testing is complete and the unit is available for reliable dispatch, Unit 4 will enter commercial operation—projected for the second quarter of 2024.

The project: Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Nuclear, leads the Vogtle plant expansion. Unit 3 achieved commercial operation on July 31, 2023. Each of these Vogtle units, both Westinghouse AP1000s, can produce enough electricity to power about 500,000 homes and businesses.

Construction of Vogtle-3 and -4 began in 2012, and the project has experienced repeated setbacks. Vogtle-3 was originally planned to start generating power in 2016, with Vogtle-4 in quick succession. Alongside the delays, the plant’s price tag soared from and original cost estimate of $14 billion to more than $30 billion.

Quotable: “The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers,” according to Southern Nuclear’s news release.

Southern Nuclear is operating the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities.

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