Vogtle-4, pictured in August 2023. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power’s Vogtle-4, located near Waynesboro, Ga., reached initial criticality this week, hitting a major milestone in the start-up of the reactor.
The company announced the news on February 14. Initial criticality demonstrates that operators have safely started the nuclear reactor, or, in other words, the fission reaction within the unit is now self-sustaining and the nuclear reactor is ready to produce heat.
The Karachi nuclear plant, on the Arabian Sea coast in Pakistan. (Photo: CNNC)
Unit 3 at Pakistan’s Karachi nuclear power plant has been connected to the national grid, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced on March 4, making it the second Hualong One reactor outside of China to have reached the last major step prior to commercial operation. (The distinction of being the first belongs to Unit 3’s twin, Karachi-2, which was connected to the grid in March 2021 and entered commercial operation in May.)
Karachi-3 had achieved criticality on February 21 after completing hot functional testing and entering the fuel loading stage last November.
The Chernobyl site in 2017 following the placement of the New Safe Confinement structure. (Photo: EBRD)
No matter the discipline, reporting on technical issues for a mass audience is fraught with pitfalls. To make the subject understandable to the layperson, authors make generous use of analogies, which are inherently incomplete and tenuous, like a stone house being built on swampland.
Likewise, in an effort to garner as many clicks or views as possible, reporters and news outlets will often resort to sensationalism, making the news being reported more dramatic than it is. (To be fair, those supplying the news can also be guilty of sensationalism in their hunger for media coverage.)