Georgia Power provides Vogtle project update, addresses COVID concerns

Vogtle Unit 3, in August. Photo: Georgia Power

The target in-service dates for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project remain November 2021 for Unit 3 and November 2022 for Unit 4, plant owner Georgia Power announced in an August 31 report to the Georgia Public Service Commission. The project is now approximately 87 percent complete.

Vogtle site makes progress with critical testing of new units

Closed vessel testing has been completed at Vogtle-3 at the Georgia Power site near Waynesboro, Ga., the company announced on July 14. The completion of the milestone prepares Unit 3 for cold hydro testing, which is required ahead of initial fuel load.

Vogtle-3 and -4 are the first new nuclear power reactors built in the United States in the past three decades. The new units will be powered by AP1000 reactors.

Southern CEO tests positive for COVID-19

Fanning

Tom Fanning, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company, on July 10 announced via Twitter that he has tested positive for COVID-19. One of the largest U.S. utilities, Southern is the parent company of the owners and operators of the Farley, Hatch, and Vogtle nuclear power plants.

Also on July 10, the state of Georgia obliterated its record for the number of COVID-19 cases in a single day, reporting 4,484 new cases, topping the previous record by more than 1,000. Fanning lives in Atlanta.

Georgia Power resequencing Vogtle-3 and -4 planned activities

From left: Vogtle-3 and -4. Photo: Georgia Power

Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, primary owner of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, announced on June 23 that it is resequencing certain planned activities at Vogtle-3 and -4, the two Westinghouse AP1000 units under construction at the site near Waynesboro, Ga.

Final major module for Vogtle-3 installed

The CB-20 module being installed at Vogtle-3. Photo: Georgia Power

A massive water tank has been placed atop the containment vessel and shield building roof at Vogtle-3, one of two AP1000 reactors currently under construction at Southern Company’s nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga. The installation represents the final module placement for the unit and marks the latest significant milestone to be reached at the Vogtle site.

Vogtle-3 integrated head package set in place

Vogtle-3’s integrated head package. Photo: Georgia Power

Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power has placed the integrated head package (IHP) atop the Unit 3 reactor vessel at the Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga., marking the latest major milestone in the construction of the first new U.S. nuclear reactors in more than 30 years.

Southern gives nod to NRC on violation at Vogtle

Southern Nuclear has accepted a “white” finding (one of low to moderate safety significance) and an associated violation notice from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a problem at the company’s Vogtle nuclear plant, near Waynesboro, Ga. Earlier this year, Southern had contested the severity of the finding, arguing to no avail that the finding be more appropriately characterized as “green” (very low safety significance).

Vogtle work slows, but start dates remain

The Vogtle-3 containment vessel in March. Photo: Georgia Power

Despite its recent decision to trim the workforce at the Vogtle reactor construction project by about 20 percent to better address the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Company is confident that Units 3 and 4—twin AP 1000 pressurized water reactors—will be up and running according to schedule.

Pandemic prompts cuts to Vogtle construction workforce

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Georgia Power Company is reducing the number of workers at its Vogtle-3 and -4 construction site, in Waynesboro, Ga., by approximately 20 percent, according to a recent joint Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the company and parent firm Southern Company.

Georgia Power completes fuel order for new reactors

An overhead view of the inside of Vogtle-4's containment vessel in February. Photo: Georgia Power

Georgia Power, primary owner of the Vogtle nuclear plant near Waynesboro, Ga., has ordered the first nuclear fuel load for Vogtle-4, completing the initial fuel order necessary for the startup of the reactor, as well as its twin, Unit 3, the company announced on March 5.

First fuel loading at Vogtle Unit 3 scheduled for November

Vogtle Unit 3 (at left) is scheduled to begin operation in November 2021, one year ahead of Unit 4. Photo: Georgia Power

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced an opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing regarding Southern Nuclear’s notice of intended operation of Unit 3 at the Vogtle nuclear power plant, located in Waynesboro, Ga. The announcement was prompted by a January 13 letter from Southern Nuclear notifying the NRC of its scheduled date of November 23, 2020, for initial fuel loading at the reactor. As required under 10 CFR 52.103(a), the notification was made more than 270 days prior to the scheduled fuel load.

A combined license was issued for Vogtle-­3 and -­4, Westinghouse-­designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors, in February 2012. The license covers both construction and operation after construction is completed if standards—known as inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAAC)—identified in the combined license are satisfied. Operation will not be permitted until the NRC staff finds that all ITAACs have been met. However, if a hearing request is granted, the NRC can allow interim operation, given reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety while the adjudicatory hearing is carried out.

ANS Friday Nuclear Matinee 2/1: Vogtle Timeline Update

Friday-Nuclear-Matinee

Our latest ANS Nuclear Cafe Matinee film is the latest video update by Southern Company on the progress of the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion.  This video runs just over seven minutes and brings you the details of the construction as of the last quarter of 2018.  Enjoy!

2019 - A Wish List in Nuclear Energy

Welcome to 2019!  I hope everyone who took a break enjoyed it. For those who didn't, why didn't you?  Initially, I had thoughts of trying to separate from social media and news to a significant extent during the holidays but, after conversations with Linda Zec (our wonderful ANS staff liaison for the Social Media Team, among many other things) decided that it was impractical to do so for a variety of reasons.  So, as the holiday furor ebbed and flowed and I continued, still connected, to read news and year-end summations, I found myself wishing that there wouldn't be so much frustrating news in 2019.  That's why I decided to open my eighth calendar year writing for the ANS Nuclear Cafe with a wish list, or "listicle" in the inside jargon, if you prefer.  Here, in ascending order of importance (or, I suppose, increasing order of unlikelihood) are my five wishes for this new year in nuclear energy.  (All on one screen; no annoying "next" buttons.  You're welcome.)

Nuclear Video Matinee: Vogtle Nuclear Construction Update

Near Augusta, Georgia, the first new commercial nuclear power reactors under construction in the United States in 30 years continue to "go vertical."  Take an inside look at the latest from the Vogtle-3 and -4 construction site, including placement of the 1.8 million pound containment vessel bottom head for Unit 4, the cooling tower for Unit 3 surpassing 300 feet, and a very interesting visit to the Port of Savannah where many of the most massive Vogtle components arrive via ship.

Nuclear Matinee: Vogtle Nuclear Construction Update

Near Augusta, Georgia, the first new commercial nuclear power reactors built in the United States in 30 years continue to take shape. This latest video update features the recent heavy lift of the massive 5-story CA20 module, which will house the spent fuel pool, fuel transfer canal, and other essential components for Unit 3. The video also features a visit by US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, day-to-day problem-solving operations at the site's operations control center (especially during recent unusually cold weather), and the immeasurable beneficial economic and other impacts on the region's economy and school systems. Fuel loading and connection to the grid is scheduled for Unit 3 in 2017, and Unit 4 in 2018.