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Commercial operation marks completion of Vogtle expansion

29 April 2024

Georgia Power has announced the start of commercial operations at the second of the two AP1000 units built as an expansion of the existing two-unit Vogtle plant. The plant is now the largest generator of clean energy in the USA.

With all four units now in commercial operation, Vogtle is expected to produce xpected to produce more than 30 million MWh each year (Image: Georgia Power)

Vogtle 4 reached first criticality in February and was connected to the grid in March, following Vogtle 3 which entered commercial operation in July 2023. They are the first new nuclear units to be constructed in the USA in more than 30 years.

The construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 was originally approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) as part of Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan process in which regulators analyse and discuss the company’s plans on how it will continue delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for millions of customers over a 20-year planning horizon. Construction of the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors began in 2013.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Georgian as our state continues to grow and thrive, with new demand for more clean energy each year,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “The new Vogtle units are a key piece of our strategy to meet the energy needs of our customers not only tomorrow, but 20 years from now.”

The plant is operated by Southern Nuclear on behalf of co-owners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities. Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company.

Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company, described the completion of the expansion of the Vogtle nuclear plant is a “hallmark achievement” for Southern Company, the state of Georgia and the entire USA. “Working with our partners across government, industry, labour and beyond, we have added new nuclear generation to the diverse energy resources that enhance the reliability, resiliency and affordability of our system as we work to achieve our goal to be net zero by 2050. These new Vogtle units not only will support the economy within our communities now and in the future, they demonstrate our global nuclear leadership,” he said.

Plant Vogtle has provided billions of dollars of positive economic impact for Georgia and local communities, Georgia Power said. The new units have created 800 permanent jobs, in addition to over 9000 on-site jobs at the peak of construction.

Vogtle 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since 1987 and 1989 respectively, and are currently licensed for a 60-year operating life.

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