Georgia Power adjusts schedule for the Vogtle nuclear expansion project

Georgia Power Vogtle nuclear

Georgia Power announced this Thursday new changes in the schedule for Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear expansion project. As we reported previously, the plant’s expansion represents the first nuclear development made in the US in more than 30 years.

Firstly, the company currently expects to start Unit 3 by the third quarter of 2022; Unit 4 by the second quarter of 2023. The change to the schedule is due to the need for additional time to address continued construction challenges. The extra time would allow the company to meet the quality and safety standards for the project entirely.

Moreover, the fuel load stage for Unit 3 could occur as early as the first quarter 2022. Reaching the fuel load stage by as late as May 2022, the company should meet its 3Q 2022 in-service date for Unit 3.

About the delay, the company’s CEO and Chairman, Chris Womack, said. “We are going to build these units the right way, without compromising safety and quality to achieve a schedule deadline. We have endured and overcome some extraordinary circumstances building the first new nuclear units in the US in more than 30 years.”

As we have reported previously, back in May, Georgia Power, announced a delay for the startup of Unit 3, originally scheduled for December 2021. Back then, the company reported a new in-service date for 2022, without any more details.

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Despite Delays’ Georgia Power says progress on the expansion project is steady

In addition, the company also faced not just construction delays but also financial. Georgia regulators approved the Vogtle plant expansion back in 2009. The two 1,117 MW AP1000 reactors were supposed to cost $14 billion and enter service in 2016 and 2017. Now, analysts estimate costs have risen to almost $25 billion; particularly after the Fukushima nuclear accident, in Japan.

However, and despite the delays, Womack said in the statement that “progress at the site has been steady and evident.” Indeed, the company reports that Unit 3 direct construction is 99% complete; while the total Vogtle 3 & 4 expansion project is approximately 95% complete.

Furthermore, once operational, the two new units at Plant Vogtle will be able to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

Finally, 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.

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