NRC Authorizes Vogtle Unit 3 Fuel Loading and Operation

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized Southern Nuclear Operating Company to load nuclear fuel and begin operation at Vogtle Unit 3 in Georgia, the first reactor to reach this point in the agency’s combined license process.

Vogtle Unit 3 - Georgia Power Co. Photo CreditSNC recently informed the agency that the company completed the inspections, tests, analyses, and acceptance criteria needed to show Vogtle Unit 3 can begin safe operations.

“This is the first time we’ve authorized a reactor’s initial startup through our Part 52 licensing process,” said Andrea Veil, Director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “Before authorization, we independently verified that Vogtle Unit 3 has been properly built and will protect public health and safety when it transitions to operation. Our resident inspectors at Vogtle will keep a close eye on Unit 3 as the fuel load and startup testing move forward. We’re focused on safety so the country can use Vogtle’s additional carbon-free electricity. We will maintain this focus as we license the next generation of new reactors.”

"Today's finding by the NRC helps ensure we have met our commitment to building Vogtle 3 & 4 with the highest safety and quality standards," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "These new units remain a strong long-term investment for this state, and, once operating, are expected to provide customers with a reliable and resilient, clean, emission-free source of energy for the next 60 to 80 years. That's why we've been so committed to getting this project done right – it's about serving our customers today and for decades to come."

The NRC’s decision moves Vogtle Unit 3, adjacent to the operating Units 1 and 2, near Waynesboro, Georgia, out of the construction reactor oversight program and into the operating reactor oversight process. Vogtle Unit 4 remains under construction.

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