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Southern Company remains confident of meeting the regulatory-approved in-service date of November 2021 for unit 3 of the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia

Southern CEO: Early start-up of Vogtle units possible, 21 February 2020

Southern Company remains confident of meeting the regulatory-approved in-service date of November 2021 for unit 3 of the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, CEO Tom Fanning said during a presentation of its 2019 results. He noted the AP1000 unit could even be brought online as early as May next year, with unit 4 following a year later.

Construction of unit 3 began in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the construction project in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Vogtle 3 is scheduled to enter service by November 2021 and unit 4 by November 2022.

Major systems testing began in November at Vogtle 3 in preparation for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing later this year. The unit's licensee, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, has informed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) it plans to begin initial fuel loading on 23 November.

"In April 2019, we laid out an aggressive site work plan as a tool to achieve margin to meet the November 2021 and 2022 regulatory approved in-service dates," Fanning said. "Executing this strategy resulted in substantial progress at the site and we reached all major milestones in 2019."

Observations:

1. The Obama Administration had approved an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to build the first nuclear power plant in the US in three decades.  Southern Company, took over management of the construction project of Vogtle Units 3 and 4, in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2. The loan guarantee for the new project is to be taken out of the $54 billion Obama set aside for nuclear loan guarantees in his 2010 budget--and it leaves $46 billion more to be allocated to other nuclear projects.

3. The last two power plants to be built in the US were the Watts Bar plant, which began construction in 1973, was completed in 1990, and didn't begin commercial operation until 1996, and the River Bend plant, which was built in 1977 and went online in 1986.

4. As of October 31, 2019, there are 58 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 96 nuclear reactors in 29 U.S. states. Of these nuclear plants, 23 plants have a single reactor, 32 plants have two reactors and 3 plants have three reactors.

https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Early-start-up-of-Vogtle-units-possible-says-South

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