Nuclear Project Progress: Unit 4 Set to Power Plant Vogtle by 2024 The government approved radioactive materials for a new nuclear plant in Georgia.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Georgia Power Co. and co-owners to power Unit 4 at Plant Vogtle.
It’s a crucial step towards completing the two-reactor project, which is 7 years behind schedule and $17 billion over budget.
Georgia Power, part of Southern Company, plans to load fuel by September’s end.
It’s a big step forward because Unit 3 must be ready by Monday. After another month of waiting due to a turbine seal leak, a new limit has been set for consistent electricity delivery to the grid. According to NRC records, the plant ran at 98% capacity on Friday.
Two old reactors still operational at Plant Vogtle.
Georgia Power announced on Friday that the reactor core will soon be loaded with 157 fuel units. The fuel has been checked and stored.
After adding fuel, the atom splitting process will be tested and initiated. This raises the temperature to boil steam for powering turbines. Unit 4 expected by March 2024, per company.
Most Georgians will pay Vogtle for electricity. Currently, Georgia Power owns 45.7% of the reactors. Smaller parts owned by Oglethorpe Power Corp. sell electricity to cooperatives, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and Dalton City. Some FL and AL companies will also purchase Vogtle’s power.
The owners must now pay $29.45 billion for capital and financial costs, according to the AP. When you add Westinghouse’s $3.7 billion payment to Vogtle owners, the total is nearly $35 billion.
Georgia Power customers have paid for part of the financing costs for the third unit. Regulators approved a $3.78 monthly rate increase for when the third unit is operational.
The five PSC members will decide who pays for the remaining costs. Once fuel is added to the fourth plant, Georgia Power can decide how to allocate its funds. This process determines customer payments for Vogtle, not owner losses. Since 2018, Southern Co. has written off $3.26 billion in Vogtle losses, indicating potential unrecoverable costs.
Commissioners once believed Georgia Power’s $5.8 billion decision was favorable. People expect the company to spend over $10 billion on buildings and $3.5 trillion on money.
Over 500k homes and businesses can be powered by the two new plants.
Vogtle is the sole US nuclear plant under construction. While carbon-free plants don’t emit carbon, their costs and delays may deter other companies from constructing them.