Congratulations are in order for Vogtle Unit 3. They reached another Milestone by achieving 100% power on Sunday, May 28th. Before Unit 3 can be ready for commercial operation they still have a few major milestones to accomplish. First, the LOOP (Loss of Offsite Power) test will be administered, this is followed by a scheduled maintenance outage. Commercial operation of the unit is currently targeted before the end of June.
The AP1000 unit reached its first criticality in March and connected to the electricity grid in April. It has been undergoing testing through the full range of plant operations and gradually increasing power level during their power ascension testing.
During power ascension operation of the reactor, the control and support systems for the reactor, along with integrated plant operations are tested at various different power levels. Now that the unit has achieved 100% power, further testing must now be performed before it is available for reliable commercial operation.
“As we enter the final stages of start-up testing, reaching 100 percent power for the first time is an exciting milestone. It tells us we’re close to finishing the unit safely and bringing it online to power Georgia homes and businesses with reliable, emissions-free energy for decades to come,” Georgia Power President and CEO Kim Greene said.
It is now just over 10 years since construction began for these two Westinghouse AP1000 units located at the site near Waynesboro, Georgia. Work started on Unit 3 in March 2013 and Unit 4 in November of that same year. Unit 4 has completed hot functional testing and is now ready for fuel load scheduled to begin this June. Fuel for Unit 4 was first delivered in May, and Vogtle Unit 4 is scheduled to enter service later this year or the first quarter of 2024.
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.