Georgia Power declared today that Plant Vogtle Unit 3 has entered commercial operation and is now serving customers and the State of Georgia. The new unit represents a long-term investment in the state’s clean energy future and will provide reliable, emissions-free energy to customers for decades to come.
“The Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion is another incredible example of how Georgia Power is building a reliable and resilient energy future for our state,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “It is important that we make these kinds of long-term investments and see them through so we can continue providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to our 2.7 million customers. Today’s achievement is a testament to our commitment to doing just that, and it marks the first day of the next 60 to 80 years that Vogtle Unit 3 will serve our customers with clean, reliable energy.”
Vogtle Unit 3 is the first newly-constructed nuclear unit in the U.S. in over 30 years and can power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses. Once all four units are online, the Plant Vogtle site will be the largest generator of clean energy in the nation and support continued growth in Georgia as more industries, businesses and families come to the state.
“Today is a historic day for the State of Georgia, Southern Company, and the entire energy sector, as we continue transforming the way we power the lives of millions of Americans,” said Chris Womack, president and CEO of Southern Company. “With Unit 3 completed, and Unit 4 in the final stages of construction and testing, this project shows just how new nuclear can and will play a critical role in achieving a clean energy future for the United States. Bringing this unit safely into service is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our teams at Southern Company and the thousands of additional workers who have helped build that future at this site, as well as all of the partners who have helped make this day a reality.”
Nuclear energy is the only zero-emission baseload energy source available today, offering high reliability, and efficient operations around the clock. Nuclear energy currently provides approximately 25% of Georgia Power’s overall energy mix, including the existing units at Plant Vogtle and Georgia’s other nuclear facility at Plant Hatch in Baxley, Ga.
“The Vogtle expansion is an American energy success story and would not be possible without the support of strong public and private partners like our partners at the North America’s Building Trades Unions,” said Tom Fanning, chairman of the Board of Directors for Southern Company. “We continue to appreciate their support and those who have stood with us at the local, state and federal levels to complete this new clean energy source to serve electric customers. Providing leadership in our industry and a commitment to safety and quality are in Southern Company’s DNA. Today’s milestone at the Vogtle expansion site underscores this legacy, and I couldn’t be prouder of the dedication our teams have shown in seeing Unit 3 through to completion.”
The final stages of construction and testing continue at Vogtle Unit 4, with the unit projected to be placed in service during the late fourth quarter 2023 or the first quarter of 2024. The unit completed hot functional testing in May, in significantly less time than Unit 3 as the team continues leveraging best practices and learnings from the earlier unit. The Vogtle site has also received nuclear fuel for Unit 4, with a total of 157 fuel assemblies necessary for the safe and reliable startup of the unit.
Also, last week, Georgia Power announced the receipt of the 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for Vogtle Unit 4. 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.
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. 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 projected in-service date for Plant Vogtle Unit 4 and the future operations 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 Unit 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, including the related investigations, reviews and approvals by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“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, 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 Unit 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 Unit 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 Unit 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 disclaim any obligation to update any forward–looking information.