Georgia Power announced this week in a filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) that the target in-service dates for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project remain November 2021 for Unit 3 and November 2022 for Unit 4. The company also reported the project is now approximately 87% complete, as significant progress continues to be made at the site.
Georgia Power’s 23rd Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) Report filing covers the period January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 and can be found here.
Keeping safety and quality the top priority, the project continues to accomplish major milestones despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, the project completed a series of critical tests as the site continues to transition from construction towards system operations.
Critical tests achieved
Recently, the site completed closed vessel testing for Unit 3, which prepares the unit for cold hydro testing ahead of hot functional testing, and ultimately initial fuel load. Closed vessel testing verifies the pipes and valves in the Unit 3 reactor coolant system were installed as designed and helps ensure safety systems function properly.
The site also completed the structural integrity test and integrated leak rate test on Unit 3. These tests were completed in succession and demonstrated the containment vessel meets construction quality and design requirements.
Additional 2020 key milestones achieved, include:
- Placement of the final module for Unit 3 – The water tank that sits atop the containment vessel and shield building roof, known as module CB-20, is a major part of the AP1000 reactor’s advanced safety system and will hold approximately 750,000 gallons of water ready to flow down in the unlikely event of an emergency to help cool the reactor.
- Placement of the Unit 3 integrated head package (IHP) atop the reactor vessel – Standing 48 feet tall, weighing 475,000 pounds and containing more than three miles of electrical cables, the IHP will eventually be used by highly-trained nuclear operators to monitor and control the nuclear reaction that will occur inside the Unit 3 reactor vessel.
- Completion of Open Vessel Testing for Unit 3 – This successfully demonstrated how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted, and confirmed the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed.
- Placement of the polar crane and containment vessel top for Unit 4 – This signifies that all major lifts inside the containment vessels for both units are now complete.
With more than 7,000 workers on site, and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia.
The company files a VCM report to provide the PSC a detailed update on progress and other information related to the construction of the nation’s only new nuclear units. The VCM process includes public hearings held at the PSC, as well as reports filed by the PSC staff’s independent construction monitor.