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.
Vogtle -4 in a photo posted in May 2023. (Photo: Georgia Power)
The long-awaited fourth unit at Plant Vogtle has hit another delay.
Atlanta-based Southern Co. announced last week that vibrations in the cooling system in Unit 4 require additional work that will push the reactor’s start date from the first quarter this year to the second quarter. The company said the problem is already fixed, but there is too much additional testing needed to meet a first quarter deadline.
Vogtle Units 3 (on left) and 4, in August. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power, primary owner of the Vogtle nuclear plant, announced last Friday that it will pay $413 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it last year by plant co-owner Oglethorpe Power Corporation.
From left: Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in July. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power has signed a proposed agreement with the Georgia Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) Public Interest Advocacy (PIA) staff and several intervening parties on the total amount the utility should be allowed to recover from ratepayers for the remaining costs associated with the Vogtle-3 and -4 nuclear expansion project. If adopted by the commissioners, the agreement will resolve all issues of the project’s prudency review, according to an August 30 PSC news release.
The Vogtle-4 reactor cavity in July. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power has begun the process of loading fuel into the Vogtle plant’s Unit 4 reactor, the company announced yesterday, marking another pivotal milestone toward commercial operation of the second of the facility’s two new units.
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.
The Vogtle-4 control room. (Photo: Georgia Power)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized Southern Nuclear Operating Company to begin loading fuel into Unit 4 at the Vogtle nuclear expansion site near Waynesboro, Ga., making the unit the second reactor to reach this milestone in the agency’s combined license process—a little less than one year after Vogtle-3. (Prior to 1989, reactors were licensed under a two-step process, requiring both a construction permit and an operating license.)
Vogtle’s Unit 4 reactor in June. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Southern Nuclear, operator of Georgia’s Vogtle plant, has informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that all 364 inspections, tests, and analyses for Unit 4 have been performed, and all acceptance criteria for the new reactor have been met. Primary plant owner Georgia Power made the announcement last Friday.
The Vogtle-3 cooling tower in April. (Photo: Georgia Power)
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.
The Vogtle-4 turbine building in March. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power has announced another key milestone for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga.—the completion of hot functional testing at Unit 4. This achievement marks another significant step toward commercial operation for the Generation III+ AP1000 reactor, which is projected to enter service late in the fourth quarter 2023 or in the first quarter 2024.
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.
Vogtle Unit 3, in January. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Already for the second time this year, Southern Company has announced a delay to the expected commercial operation of Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear plant’s two-unit construction site. In addition, a delay to Unit 4’s startup is also possible, Southern said.
Vogtle-3 containment in December 2022. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power on January 11 announced yet another delay to the startup of the Unit 3 reactor at the Vogtle nuclear power plant. It’s the latest in a long series of delays to the two-unit construction project at the Waynesboro, Ga., site. (Vogtle-3 was initially supposed to enter service in 2016.)
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-4 in October. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Cold hydro testing of Unit 4 at the Vogtle plant’s nuclear expansion site has been completed, Georgia Power announced on December 7.
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.)
The twin-unit Hatch plant (Image: Southern Nuclear)
Southern Nuclear, operator of the two-unit Hatch nuclear plant, announced yesterday that it will seek subsequent license renewals (SLR) for both reactors.
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.)