Southern’s Tom Fanning to retire

December 18, 2023, 3:02PMNuclear News


Tom Fanning, Southern Company board executive chairman and the man who helmed the firm during construction of the two new AP1000 reactors at Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant, will retire December 31, Southern has announced. His board seat will be filled by Chris Womack, who replaced Fanning as Southern’s president and chief executive officer earlier this year.

Elected by the Southern board in July 2010, Fanning became company president in August 2010 and assumed the additional responsibilities of chairman and CEO that December. During his more than 43 years with Southern, Fanning held executive roles across various business disciplines, including finance, strategy, international business development, and technology. As president, chairman, and CEO of Southern, he received numerous accolades, including being named one of the most influential leaders in the energy industry in the past 25 years.

ANS awarded Fanning a Presidential Citation at this year’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Ind.

Vogtle-3 begins commercial operation

July 31, 2023, 12:39PMNuclear News
Vogtle-3 (Photo: Georgia Power)

To the ears of the nuclear community, the news from Georgia Power this morning may sound a bit like “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth: After years of delay, Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant has entered commercial operation, becoming the first newly constructed power reactor in the United States in more than 30 years and the nation’s first Westinghouse-supplied Generation III+ AP1000 unit to be placed into service. The new unit joins Vogtle-1 and -2—1,169-MWe four-loop pressurized water reactors that entered commercial operation in the late 1980s.

Vogtle-3 connects to grid

April 3, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in February. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant has been successfully synchronized and connected to the electric grid, Georgia Power announced on April 1. The unit—one of two Westinghouse-supplied AP1000s at the Waynesboro, Ga., plant’s nuclear expansion site—becomes the first new U.S. power reactor to start up in seven years.

First criticality reached at Vogtle-3

March 7, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant has achieved initial criticality, Georgia Power announced yesterday. A key milestone on the way to the reactor’s commercial operation, initial criticality demonstrates that operators have safely started, for the first time, the nuclear reaction inside the unit. (Fuel loading at Vogtle-3 began last October.)

Southern Company makes executive appointments

January 12, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
From left: Womack, Greene, and Sena. (Photos: Southern Company)

Southern Company has appointed Chris Womack chief operating officer effective immediately and president as of March 31. Tom Fanning will relinquish the role of president upon Womack's assumption of the role in March and is to assume the role of executive chairman of the board of directors.

Womack has served as president of Georgia Power since 2020 and chairman, president, and CEO since 2021. Prior to his current roles, he served as executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company.

"Chris's leadership, vision, and integrity during his career with Southern Company have uniquely prepared him to guide Southern Company into a new era," said Fanning. "With our recent progress at Plant Vogtle and continued conversion of our operations towards net zero emissions, I believe that now is an ideal time to transition to new leadership."

The moves were announced by the company's board on January 5.

Vogtle-3 fuel load has begun

October 14, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Vogtle Unit 3 in September. (Photo: Georgia Power)

Georgia Power announced this morning that fuel loading at Vogtle-3 has commenced, marking an important milestone on what has proved to be a long and bumpy road to startup and commercial operation of the first new nuclear power reactors to be built in the United States in more than three decades. (Major work on the Vogtle-3 and -4 project began in 2012, with a price tag of $14 billion and scheduled unit start dates of 2016 and 2017. The project’s total cost is now expected to exceed $30 billion.)

NRC okays fuel loading at new Vogtle unit

August 4, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Unit 3 at the Vogtle site in July 2022. (Photo: Georgia Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized Vogtle plant operator Southern Nuclear to load fuel and begin operation at Unit 3—the first reactor to reach this point in the agency’s combined license process. (Prior to 1989, reactors were licensed under a two-step process, requiring both a construction permit and an operating license.)

Georgia Power again pushes back Vogtle project start dates

October 25, 2021, 9:29AMNuclear News
Vogtle-4 containment as it appeared last month. Photo: Georgia Power

In what has become for nuclear advocates an all-too-familiar refrain, Georgia Power has made another revision to the Vogtle nuclear expansion project schedule. The company now predicts a Unit 3 in-service date in the third quarter of 2022 and a Unit 4 in-service date in the second quarter of 2023, representing a three-month shift for each unit.

Vogtle project suffers another setback

July 30, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Vogtle Units 3 and 4, earlier this month. (Photo: Georgia Power)

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 -4 nuclear expansion project. The new schedule pushes back the Unit 3 in-service date to the second quarter of 2022 and the Unit 4 date to the first quarter of 2023—a three-to-four-month shift for each unit.