Georgia Power awaits Nuclear Regulatory Commission 103(g) finding required to load fuel
ATLANTA – July 21, 2023 – Today, Georgia Power announced completion of another important step in the startup and operation of the new nuclear units at the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion site near Waynesboro, Ga. The company shared that Southern Nuclear has submitted documentation that all 364 inspections, tests and analyses have been performed and all acceptance criteria, collectively known as ITAACs, have been met on Vogtle Unit 4 as required by Southern Nuclear's Combined Operating License. The completion of these ITAACs provides the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) assurance that the unit meets strict nuclear safety and quality standards.
As defined by the NRC, each ITAAC closure notice must be verified before fuel load.
Next, the company awaits receipt of the 103(g) finding from the NRC documenting that license acceptance criteria for Unit 4 have been met. This will indicate that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in conformance with its Combined License and NRC regulations. Upon receipt of the 103(g) finding from the NRC, no further NRC findings are necessary in order for Southern Nuclear to load fuel and begin the startup sequence.
The team at the site continues preparations for Unit 4 fuel load and start up. All 157 fuel assemblies required for the operation of the Unit 4 reactor have been delivered to the site. Each fuel assembly measuring 14 feet tall was inspected and transferred to the new fuel storage racks before being placed into the spent fuel pool where all the assemblies will be stored until they are loaded into the Unit 4 reactor during fuel load.
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.
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 expected receipt of the 103(g) letter for Plant Vogtle Unit 4 and the future 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, 2022, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: 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 the 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, the impacts of inflation, 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, challenges with start-up activities, including major equipment failure, or system integration, and/or operational performance, continued challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic or future pandemic health events, continued public and policymaker support for projects, environmental and geological conditions, delays or increased costs to interconnect facilities to transmission grids, and increased financing costs as a result of changes in market interest rates or as a result of project delays; the ability to overcome or mitigate the current challenges, or challenges yet to be identified, 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 Georgia 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; the notices of tender by Oglethorpe Power Corporation and the City of Dalton of a portion of their ownership interests in Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 to Georgia Power, including related litigation; 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 cyber and 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; the potential effects of the continued COVID-19 pandemic; 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.