Vogtle 3 Completion Slowed By Pipe Vibrations

Georgia Power said it had pushed back its expected start date of Vogtle Unit 3, which had been expected to enter into commercial service in the first quarter of 2023.. The company now says initial criticality would be pushed back to February, while commercial service would not be attained until April.

Plant VogtleThe new delay, according to the World Nuclear Association, is related to vibrations found in cooling system pipes. These were discovered during pre-operational testing, according to a January 11, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Georgia, the south, the U.S., awaits with anticipation the first two new nuclear power plants to go online in the country in more than 30 years. The project near Waynesboro, Georgia, has been beset with costly delays and budget overruns, but remains on target to be the first start-to-finish nuclear plant projects to reach completion in decades.

Two other Westinghouse AP1000 reactors were planned in the United States at the V.C. Summers nuclear power plant facility near Jenkinsville, South Carolina. But owners SCANA and Santee Cooper elected to abandon the project in August 2017, five months after designer Westinghouse had declared bankruptcy.

The owners of the two-unit expansion project at the Vogtle plant in Georgia also considered abandoning their project, despite billions already spent. But the Georgia decision-makers agreed to keep the project going. Both new units,3 and 4, are now expected to reach first criticality and obtain commercial operating status this year.

Construction of Unit 3 at Vogtle began in March of 2013 with first fuel loading accomplished in October 2022. From an organizational perspective, management of the project was transferred to Southern Company subsidiaries Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 protection.

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