In an announcement, Georgia Power has declared the commencement of commercial operation for Plant Vogtle Unit 3. This milestone marks the realization of a visionary investment in the State of Georgia's clean energy future.
Kim Greene, the chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power, expressed deep pride in the achievement, remarking that the Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment in building a reliable and resilient energy future for the state. Greene emphasized the importance of persevering with long-term investments to continue delivering clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy to the vast customer base of 2.7 million. The commencement of Vogtle Unit 3's service signals the beginning of a remarkable 60 to 80-year journey during which it will furnish customers with sustainable and dependable energy.
Notably, Vogtle Unit 3 represents the first newly-constructed nuclear unit in the United States in over three decades, and its capacity can provide energy to approximately 500,000 homes and businesses. Once all four units at the Plant Vogtle site are operational, it will stand as the nation's largest generator of clean energy, playing a pivotal role in supporting Georgia's ongoing growth as various industries, businesses, and families flock to the state.
Chris Womack, the president and CEO of Southern Company, hailed this day as a historic moment for Georgia, Southern Company, and the entire energy sector, emphasizing the transformative shift in how millions of Americans will be powered. With the completion of Unit 3 and Unit 4's advanced stages of construction and testing, this project showcases the pivotal role that new nuclear power will play in forging a clean energy future for the entire nation. The successful implementation of Unit 3 is a testament to the relentless dedication of Southern Company's teams, the multitude of workers contributing to the project, and the strong collaboration with partners who have turned this dream into reality.
Nuclear energy, being the sole zero-emission baseload energy source currently available, offers unmatched reliability and efficiency, delivering power around the clock. It currently constitutes approximately 25% of Georgia Power's overall energy mix, encompassing the existing units at Plant Vogtle and Plant Hatch, Georgia's other nuclear facility situated in Baxley, Ga.
Tom Fanning, chairman of the Board of Directors for Southern Company, acknowledged the Vogtle expansion as an exemplary American energy success story, which owes its existence to the unwavering support of robust public and private partnerships. He expressed gratitude to all those who have championed the project at the local, state, and federal levels, affirming Southern Company's deep-rooted commitment to leadership, safety, and quality. The achievement of Unit 3 at the Vogtle expansion site attests to this legacy, and Fanning expressed immense pride in the dedication exhibited by their teams in ensuring its successful completion.
As Vogtle Unit 4 nears its final stages of construction and testing, it is projected to be operational during the late fourth quarter of 2023 or the first quarter of 2024. The accelerated completion of hot functional testing for Unit 4, compared to Unit 3, is a testament to the team's adeptness in applying best practices and learning from past experiences. Additionally, the Vogtle site has received the required nuclear fuel for Unit 4, with a total of 157 fuel assemblies.
Last week, Georgia Power announced the receipt of the 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for Vogtle Unit 4. This finding, confirmed in an official letter received by Southern Nuclear, signifies that the new unit has been constructed in strict conformance with the Combined License and NRC regulations. No further NRC findings are necessary, allowing Southern Nuclear to proceed with fuel loading and the commencement of the startup sequence for the new unit.
Southern Nuclear, on behalf of co-owners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities, will be responsible for operating the new units.
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Georgia is doing it right while Virginia's Dominion Energy chases windmills.