Georgia Power today announced that hot functional testing has begun for Vogtle Unit 3. Hot functional testing marks the last series of major tests underway for the new nuclear unit ahead of initial fuel load. The testing represents a significant step towards operations and providing customers with a reliable, carbon-free energy source for the next 60 to 80 years.
Hot functional testing is conducted to verify the successful operation of reactor components and systems together and confirm the reactor is ready for fuel load. As part of the testing, the site team will begin running Unit 3 plant systems without nuclear fuel and advance through the testing process towards reaching normal operating pressure and temperature.
Over the next several weeks, nuclear operators will use the heat generated by the unit’s four reactor coolant pumps to raise the temperature and pressure of plant systems to normal operating levels. Once normal operating temperature and pressure levels are achieved and sustained, the unit’s main turbine will be raised to normal operating speed using steam from the plant. During these series of tests, nuclear operators will be able to exercise and validate procedures as required ahead of fuel load. Hot functional testing is expected to take six to eight weeks.
Once operating, the two new units at Plant Vogtle will be able to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. A diverse fuel mix, including nuclear, is also essential to maintaining a reliable and affordable energy infrastructure that attracts new investment, supports economic growth and creates jobs.
With more than 7,000 workers on site, and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia.