Georgia Power said Monday that Plant Vogtle Unit 3 has entered commercial operation and is now serving customers and the State of Georgia. The new unit represents a long-term investment in the state’s clean energy future and will provide reliable, emissions-free energy to customers for decades to come, the company said in a press release.
“The Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion is another incredible example of how Georgia Power is building a reliable and resilient energy future for our state,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “It is important that we make these kinds of long-term investments and see them through so we can continue providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to our 2.7 million customers. Today’s achievement is a testament to our commitment to doing just that, and it marks the first day of the next 60 to 80 years that Vogtle Unit 3 will serve our customers with clean, reliable energy.”
Vogtle Unit 3 is the first newly-constructed nuclear unit in the U.S. in over 30 years and can power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses. Once all four units are online, the Plant Vogtle site will be the largest generator of clean energy in the nation and support continued growth in Georgia as more industries, businesses and families come to the state.
“Today is a historic day for the State of Georgia, Southern Company, and the entire energy sector, as we continue transforming the way we power the lives of millions of Americans,” said Chris Womack, president and CEO of Southern Company. “With Unit 3 completed, and Unit 4 in the final stages of construction and testing, this project shows just how new nuclear can and will play a critical role in achieving a clean energy future for the United States. Bringing this unit safely into service is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our teams at Southern Company and the thousands of additional workers who have helped build that future at this site, as well as all of the partners who have helped make this day a reality.”
Nuclear energy is the only zero-emission baseload energy source available today, offering high reliability, and efficient operations around the clock. Nuclear energy currently provides approximately 25% of Georgia Power’s overall energy mix, including the existing units at Plant Vogtle and Georgia’s other nuclear facility at Plant Hatch in Baxley, Georgia.
“The Vogtle expansion is an American energy success story and would not be possible without the support of strong public and private partners like our partners at North America’s Building Trades Unions,” said Tom Fanning, chairman of the Board of Directors for Southern Company. “We continue to appreciate their support and those who have stood with us at the local, state and federal levels to complete this new clean energy source to serve electric customers. Providing leadership in our industry and a commitment to safety and quality are in Southern Company’s DNA. Today’s milestone at the Vogtle expansion site underscores this legacy, and I couldn’t be prouder of the dedication our teams have shown in seeing Unit 3 through to completion.”
The final stages of construction and testing continue at Vogtle Unit 4, with the unit projected to be placed in service during the late fourth quarter 2023 or the first quarter of 2024. The unit completed hot functional testing in May, in significantly less time than Unit 3 as the team continues leveraging best practices and learnings from the earlier unit. The Vogtle site has also received nuclear fuel for Unit 4, with a total of 157 fuel assemblies necessary for the startup of the unit.
Also, last week, Georgia Power announced the receipt of the 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for Vogtle Unit 4. This finding was confirmed in an official letter received by Southern Nuclear and signifies that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in conformance with the Combined License and NRC regulations. No further NRC findings are necessary in order for Southern Nuclear to load fuel or begin the startup sequence for the new unit.
The company says new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power’s “commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers.”
Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.