US Georgia Power on 21 October announced a revised schedule for the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project. The company currently projects a unit 3 in-service date in the third quarter of 2022 and a unit 4 in-service date in the second quarter of 2023, representing a three-month delay for each unit.
Georgia Power said the change to the schedule is primarily due to the need for additional time to address "continued construction challenges and to allow for the comprehensive testing necessary to ensure quality and safety standards are fully met.
Unit 3 fuel load could occur as early as the first quarter 2022, but a fuel load date as late as May 2022 should support a third quarter 2022 in-service date. "As we've said from the beginning of this project, we are going to build these units the right way, without compromising safety and quality to achieve a schedule deadline," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "We have endured and overcome some extraordinary circumstances building the first new nuclear units in the US in more than 30 years. Despite these challenges, progress at the site has been steady and evident."
The new Vogtle units are a key part of Georgia Power's commitment to deliver safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy, and are expected to provide customers with a reliable, carbon-free energy source for the next 60 to 80 years.
Progress continues to be made towards unit 3 fuel load following the completion of hot functional testing this summer. Unit 3 direct construction is 99% complete, with the total Vogtle 3&4 expansion project approximately 95% complete.
This latest rescheduling follows one in July, when Georgia Power announced projected in-service dates in the second quarter of 2022 for unit 3 and in the first quarter of 2023 for unit 4. Construction of the two AP1000 units began in 2013: unit 3 in March and unit 4 in November. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the project to build the units in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which led to significant delays and cost increases.