The Plant Vogtle Nuclear Project is Finally Complete

April 29, 2024
1 min read
Plant Vogtle Denton Rumsey /

The second of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle has entered full commercial operation, Georgia Power officials announced Monday.

Unit 4, which went online nine months after the completion of Unit 3 at the plant south of Augusta, can produce enough electricity to power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses.

“The new Vogtle units are a key piece of our strategy to meet the energy needs of our customers not only tomorrow, but 20 years from now,” said Kim Greene, Georgia Power’s chairman, president and CEO. “I’m so proud of the teams who have worked tirelessly to deliver the first newly constructed nuclear units in the U.S. in more than 30 years.”

The nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle was a long time in coming. The project originally was due to be completed in 2016 and 2017 but encountered a series of delays that drove up the cost to more than double the $14 billion anticipated when the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) signed off on the work in 2009.

The PSC voted late last year to let Georgia Power pass on to customers almost $7.6 billion of the project’s costs, which will increase the average monthly residential customer’s bill by $8.95.

Representatives of environmental and consumer advocacy groups complained as the costs escalated that Georgia Power and its utility partners in the project – Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities – should have more aggressively pursued renewable energy as a less costly alternative to nuclear power.

Georgia Power executives countered that nuclear energy is the only zero-emission baseload energy source available today – offering high reliability around the clock. Last year, nuclear energy produced at plants Vogtle and Hatch provided more than 25% of Georgia Power’s electrical generation.

“We have added new nuclear generation to the diverse energy resources that enhance the reliability, resiliency, and affordability of our system as we work to achieve our goal to be net zero (in greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050,” said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Southern Co., Georgia Power’s parent company.

“The completion of the Vogtle expansion project signifies the culmination of a remarkable journey filled with dedication, perseverance and a commitment to a cleaner energy future for Georgians,” Oglethorpe Power President & CEO Mike Smith added. “We celebrate not only the completion of this important emission-free resource but also the historic achievement it represents.”

In addition to the 800 permanent jobs created by the two new reactors, the nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle employed more than 9,000 construction workers at the peak of the project, including engineers, welders, electricians, pipefitters, and plumbers.

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