Georgia Power on 31 August announced in a filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) that the target in-service dates for the Vogtle expansion project remain November 2021 for unit 3 and November 2022 for unit 4.
Georgia Power, the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company, also reported the project is around 87% complete, and that "significant progress" continues to be made at the site.
Construction of Vogtle 3 began in March 2013 and Vogtle 4 in November 2014. Both units are Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power took over management of the project following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2017.
Georgia Power said “keeping safety and quality the top priority, the project continues to accomplish major milestones despite the COVID-19 pandemic”.
This summer, the Vogtle project completed a series of critical tests as the site continues to transition from construction towards system operations.
Recently, closed vessel testing was completed at Vogtle 3, verifying that the pipes and valves in the reactor coolant system were installed as designed and helps ensure safety systems function properly. The milestone prepares Vogtle 3 for cold hydro testing ahead of hot functional testing, and ultimately initial fuel load.
Structural integrity test and integrated leak rate test has also been completed at Vogtle 3. “These tests were completed in succession and demonstrated the containment vessel meets construction quality and design requirements,” Georgia Power said.
Additional 2020 key milestones achieved, include:
- Placement of the final module (CB-20) for Vogtle 3 – The water tank that sits atop the containment vessel and shield building roof and will hold approximately 750,000 gallons of water ready to flow down in the unlikely event of an emergency to help cool the reactor.
- Placement of the unit 3 integrated head package atop the reactor vessel, which will eventually be used to monitor and control nuclear reactionsi nside reactor vessel.
- Completion of open vessel testing for Vogtle 3 demonstrating how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted, and confirming the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed.
- Placement of the polar crane and containment vessel top for Vogtle 4, signifiying that all major lifts inside the containment vessels for both units are now complete.
Georgia Power said earlier that its share of the total project cost forecast now stands at $8.5bn up from was $4.8bn in 2013. In a 2019 report, the Georgia Public Service Commission said the total cost of the project could be $17.1bn.
Photo: Vogtle 3 pictured in August 2020 (Photo credit: Georgia Power)