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.
A Nuclear News interview with Kostas Dovas and Darren Stiles
February 3, 2023, 3:01PMEdited February 3, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
The nuclear community is undergoing a moment of unprecedented interest and growth not seen in decades. The passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are providing a multitude of new funding opportunities for the nuclear community, and not just the current fleet. A mix of technologies and reactor types are being evaluated and deployed, with Vogtle Units 3 and 4 coming on line later this year, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Projects of X-energy and TerraPower, and NuScale’s work with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build a first-of-a-kind small modular reactor, making this is an exciting time to join the nuclear workforce.
Wes Hines (right), of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, introduces the speakers for a session on nuclear engineering opportunities. (Photos: University of Tennessee)
The University of Tennessee–Knoxville Department of Nuclear Engineering hosted the inaugural Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization (NEDHO) Diversity Panel on October 27. Wes Hines, head of the university’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, was the moderator for the event. Invited to the speak were engineering professional Harold T. Conner, environmental scientist Dari Gabriel, and engineering student Jasmine Toy. These three panelists discussed overcoming challenges in their engineering education and/or careers to find success. A common theme that emerged from the conversation was that—in addition to their own determination to succeed—all three panelists benefited from caring adult guidance during their youth, as well as strong support from friends, family, and colleagues as they pursued their goals.
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.
Framatome’s GAIA fuel assembly with Protect EATF technologies. (Photo: Framatome)
Framatome has completed the second 18-month cycle of its GAIA Protect Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) technology at Vogtle’s Unit 2 in Waynesboro, Ga. Inspections afterward revealed that the full-length chromium-coated fuel rods maintained their original characteristics, while the chromia-enhanced pellets operated as designed during 36 months of reactor operation.
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.)
ADOPT fuel pellets developed by Westinghouse through the DOE's Accident Tolerant Fuel Program. (Photo: Westinghouse)
Westinghouse Electric Company and Southern Nuclear have agreed to a plan to install four Westinghouse lead test assemblies in Vogtle-2, a 1,169-MWe pressurized water reactor located in Waynesboro, Ga. Four lead test assemblies containing uranium enriched up to 6 percent U-235 will be loaded in Vogtle-2 in 2023, marking the first time that fuel rods with uranium enriched above 5 percent U-235 are put in use in a U.S. commercial power reactor.
Vogtle Units 3 (in foreground) and 4, in November. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Georgia Power has revised the projected commercial operation dates for Vogtle-3 and -4 a total of four times this year—most recently in October—but some experts are saying that at least one more delay is probable.
The Vogtle-3 turbine building (left) and containment (right) in October. (Photo: Georgia Power)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will increase its oversight of Vogtle-3—one of the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors under construction at the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Ga.—after finalizing two inspection findings involving the unit’s safety-related electrical cable raceway system. Vogtle’s operator, Southern Nuclear, was informed of the decision in a November 17 letter.
The agency had launched a special inspection at Vogtle-3 in June of this year to determine the cause and extent of construction quality issues in the raceway system, which consists primarily of conduits and cable trays designed to prevent a single event from disabling redundant safety-related equipment.
Vogtle-3 (left) and -4 in June. (Photo: Georgia Power)
Oversight of the Vogtle nuclear new-build project will be increased if the preliminary conclusions in an August 26 Nuclear Regulatory Commission special inspection report are finalized.
Conducted from June 21 to July 2, the inspection looked into the cause and extent of construction-quality issues in the safety-related electrical cable raceway system at Vogtle-3.
Vogtle’s Unit 3, earlier this month. Photo: Georgia Power
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a special inspection at the Vogtle new-build site to identify the errors that necessitated construction remediation work on Unit 3’s electrical cable raceway system.