Georgia Power announced the process to load fuel into the Vogtle Unit 4 reactor core has begun at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro.
Georgia Power says the loading fuel marks a pivotal milestone toward startup and commercial operation of the second new unit at Plant Vogtle. Vogtle Unit 3 – the first newly-constructed nuclear unit in the U.S. in more than 30 years – entered commercial operation on July 31, and is providing customers and the State of Georgia with reliable, emissions-free energy.
The start of Unit 4 fuel load comes after Southern Nuclear received the 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in July which signified that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in conformance with the Combined License and NRC regulations.
During fuel load, nuclear technicians from Westinghouse and operators from Southern Nuclear are scheduled to safely install 157 fuel assemblies into the Unit 4 reactor core in the coming days.
Startup testing will begin next and is designed to demonstrate the integrated operation of the primary coolant system and steam supply system at design temperature and pressure with fuel inside the reactor. Operators will also bring the plant from cold shutdown to initial criticality, synchronize the unit to the electric grid and systematically raise power to 100%. Vogtle Unit 4 is projected to be placed in service during late fourth quarter 2023 or the first quarter 2024.
The 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. Once operating, each of the new units can produce enough electricity to power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.