Plant Vogtle Unit 4 completes key step of testing

The new Unit 3 reactor at Plant Vogtle has started splitting atoms, a key step toward reaching commercial operation.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia Power on Monday announced the completion of hot functional testing for Unit 4 at the Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro.

The completion of hot functional testing marks a significant step toward operations. Unit 4 is projected to enter service in late fourth quarter of 2023 or the first quarter of 2024.

During hot functional testing, plant systems achieved normal operating pressure and temperature, without nuclear fuel in the reactor, to demonstrate the systems will operate on an integrated basis as designed.

Now, the site team focuses on completing the remaining work necessary to submit documentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that all inspection, tests and analyses have been performed and all acceptance criteria have been met on Vogtle Unit 4.

Units 1 and 2 at the nuclear power plant have been operating for decades, white Units 3 and 4 have been under construction in recent years.

Unit 3 could be functional within days after generating electricity for the first time a one month ago.

“The energy and enthusiasm at the Vogtle site, and across our entire company, is high with Unit 3 in the final stages of startup testing and Unit 4 making progress towards safely loading fuel,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “The team at Unit 4 has been able to take lessons learned from Unit 3 and apply them. That has allowed us to safely complete hot functional testing on Unit 4 in significantly less time than we did for Unit 3.”

Meanwhile some electricity rate increases are ahead to help pay for the new units. That’s on top of Georgia Power’s plans to boost electric bills by 12% in June to cover the higher costs of natural gas and coal.