US Georgia Power reports that unit 3 of the Vogtle NPP, the first new nuclear unit to be built in the USA in more than three decades, has been successfully synchronised and connected to the grid. Vogtle 3 reached first criticality early in March and is expected to begin commercial operation in May or June. Vogtle 4 began hot functional tests in March and is expected to enter service in late 2023 or early 2024. Both are 1117 MWe Westinghouse AP1000 reactors.
Connecting to the grid is part of an ongoing start-up testing process for Vogtle 3, and operators will continue to increase reactor power while performing tests at various levels. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners – Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.
Vogtle units 1 and 2, which are both 1215 MWe reactors supplied by Westinghouse, were completed in 1987 and 1989. In 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed their licences for an additional 20 years. Georgia Public Service Commission approved the new reactors for the Vogtle expansion in early 2009 and construction activities began the same year. At that time Vogtle 3&4 were expected to cost about $14bn and to enter service in 2016 and 2017, but in the event have suffered a series of delays.