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Southern Company's (SO) Vogtle Unit 4 Commences Flush Testing

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The Southern Company’s SO fully-owned subsidiary Georgia Power accomplished another milestone at its Vogtle nuclear expansion project currently underway in the United States.

Georgia Power started the integrated flush at its Vogtle Unit 4 turbine system, one of the two new units at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. Notably, the integrated flush is a testing process, which causes water to move through the plant’s permanent piping system and, as a result, flowing into the reactor vessel and reactor coolant loops.

The testing process indicates a major step to help ensure the safe initiation of Unit 4 and marks the beginning of extensive testings for the unit's systems. During the next few months, project officials at the Vogtle nuclear turbine system will proceed with the cleaning and testing process of the system piping.

Importantly, the process will begin with the chemical and volume control system as well as the spent fuel pool cooling system. This will then pass along the reactor coolant system, the passive core cooling system, and the normal residual heat removal system as they have been turned over from construction to the operation teams.

The Vogtle expansion project — the nation's only nuclear power plant under construction — suffered from continued timing and cost overrun issues over the years, and was also affected by the need to downsize the workforce during the pandemic. However, during the course of 2020, the Vogtle plant achieved several milestones in the construction of Unit 3, including the completion of cold hydro testing, closed vessel testing and open vessel testing, the structural integrity test, and integrated leak rate test as well as obtaining the unit’s first nuclear fuel shipment.

The nuclear expansion project is regarded as the largest employment-generating construction project in Georgia, which, once online, is expected to create more than 800 permanent jobs, and power more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

Georgia Power hopes to maintain the in-service dates for Units 3 and 4 in November 2021 and 2022, respectively, and aims to offer customers a clean and non-carbon source of energy for the next 60 to 80 years. Notably, the two latest units are crucial toward the utility's aim to deliver clean and reliable energy for customers and uphold Southern Company's goal for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Company Profile & Price Performance

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Southern Company is one of the largest utility companies in the United States.

The utility’s shares have outperformed the industry in the past six months. Its stock has gained 9.1% compared with the industry’s 4.1% growth.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Southern Company currently carries a Zack Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked players in the utility space are Korea Electric Power Corporation KEP, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and ONEOK, Inc OKE and ENN Energy Holdings Ltd XNGSY, eachcarrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Korea Electric’s earnings for 2021 are expected to increase 38.4% year over year.

ONEOK’s earnings for 2021 are expected to increase 109.3% year over year.

ENN Energy’s earnings for 2021 are expected to increase 10.3% year over year.

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Southern Company The (SO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

ONEOK, Inc. (OKE) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEP) : Free Stock Analysis Report

ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. (XNGSY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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