Grid connection for Vogtle unit 3

03 April 2023

Vogtle unit 3 began supplying its first electricity to the grid on 1 April, Georgia Power announced. The AP1000 reactor - the first new reactor to start up in the USA since 2016 - is scheduled to enter commercial operation by mid-year.

Vogtle unit 3 (Image: Georgia Power)

"The generator at Vogtle unit 3 has generated electricity for the first time, and the unit has successfully synchronised and connected to the electric grid," the company said.

Operators will now take the unit through a gradual power increase until it reaches its full power output. Tests to ensure all systems are operating together and to validate operating procedures will be carried out throughout the start-up process before the unit is declared to be in commercial operation.

Georgia Power currently projects an in-service date for Vogtle 3 in May or June.

"What an incredibly inspiring time to join Georgia Power as we celebrate this milestone that marks the first day of generating clean, reliable power at this new nuclear unit, which will serve our customers over the next 60 to 80 years," said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "I consider myself very fortunate to have worked onsite at Vogtle 1 and 2 early in my career as an engineer, learning so much that I have carried with me over the years while also gaining an appreciation of the value of nuclear energy as a critical, long-term investment for our state. As we approach commercial operation for unit 3, I know that every professional who has been involved in this project or worked at Plant Vogtle is proud of the role they have played in helping build a clean energy future for Georgia."

Construction of the two Westinghouse AP1000s began at Vogtle in 2013, with work starting on unit 3 in March and unit 4 in November of that year. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the construction project in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The units are co-owned by Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities, and will be operated by Southern Nuclear.

Unit 3 achieved first criticality - a sustained chain reaction - on 6 March.

Hot functional testing, which verifies the successful operation of reactor components and systems, and confirms the reactor is ready for fuel load, began at Vogtle unit 4 last month. The reactor is projected to enter service in late fourth quarter 2023 or first quarter 2024.

"The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers," the company said. "Once operating, the two new units, which will be clean energy sources that produce zero emissions, are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News