Georgia Power, Southern Nuclear look to next steps, startup process for the new unit
ATLANTA, Aug. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power announced today a historic milestone in the completion of Vogtle Unit 3 near Waynesboro, Ga. – the receipt of the 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 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.
"Today's finding by the NRC helps ensure we have met our commitment to building Vogtle 3 & 4 with the highest safety and quality standards," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "These new units remain a strong long-term investment for this state, and, once operating, are expected to provide customers with a reliable and resilient, clean, emission-free source of energy for the next 60 to 80 years. That's why we've been so committed to getting this project done right – it's about serving our customers today and for decades to come."
The issuance of the 103(g) finding follows years of diligent and careful work by the team at the site to submit documentation that Unit 3 has satisfied 398 required inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria (ITAACs) as outlined in Southern Nuclear's Combined License – helping ensure the unit meets strict nuclear safety and quality standards. This process was completed on July 29, and the NRC conducted a thorough review process of each submission and targeted inspections of the facility before issuing the 103(g) finding. As required by the NRC, each ITAAC had to be verified before fuel load and operations.
The team at the site continues working diligently to make final preparations for Unit 3 fuel load, initiate startup testing and bring the unit online. Over the next several weeks, well-trained and highly qualified nuclear technicians will continue work required to support loading fuel, which is already onsite, into the unit's reactor. This will be followed by several months of startup testing and operations. Startup testing 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 grid and systematically raise power to 100%.
The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, and, once operating, the two new units at Plant Vogtle are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. Additionally, the new units will be clean energy sources that produce zero air pollution.
About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America's premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.7 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is recognized by J.D. Power as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/Georgia Power), Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower) and Instagram (Instagram.com/ga_power).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the completion of remaining work necessary to load fuel and the future loading of fuel, testing and operation of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4. Georgia Power cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the potential effects of the continued COVID-19 pandemic; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction, and operation of facilities or other projects, including Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which includes components based on new technology that only within the last few years began initial operation in the global nuclear industry at this scale, due to current and/or future challenges which include, but are not limited to, changes in labor costs, availability and productivity, challenges with management of contractors or vendors, subcontractor performance, adverse weather conditions, shortages, delays, increased costs, or inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, delays due to judicial or regulatory action, nonperformance under construction, operating, or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, engineering or design problems or any remediation related thereto, design and other licensing-based compliance matters, including, for nuclear units, inspections and the timely submittal by Southern Nuclear of the Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria documentation for each unit and the related investigations, reviews and approvals by the NRC necessary to support NRC authorization to load fuel, challenges with start-up activities, including major equipment failure, or system integration, and/or operational performance, and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic; the ability to overcome or mitigate the current challenges at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 that could further impact the cost and schedule for the project; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to construction projects, such as Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including Public Service Commission approvals and NRC actions; under certain specified circumstances, a decision by holders of more than 10% of the ownership interests of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 not to proceed with construction and the ability of other Vogtle owners to tender a portion of their ownership interests to Georgia Power following certain construction cost increases, including the purported exercise by Oglethorpe Power Corporation ("OPC") and the City of Dalton of their tender options and related litigation initiated by OPC and Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses (including satisfaction of NRC requirements), to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities; the ability of counterparties of Georgia Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the direct or indirect effect on Georgia Power's business resulting from cyber intrusion or physical attack and the threat of physical attacks; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events, political unrest, wars or other similar occurrences; and the direct or indirect effects on Georgia Power's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid or operation of generating or storage resources. Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward–looking information.
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SOURCE Georgia Power