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Vogtle expansion continues with more testing, last module installed



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Georgia Power Co. announced a pair of milestones Monday morning as the expansion of Burke County’s Plant Vogtle continues to take shape.

The last module for the project – a 360-ton water tank placed atop the Unit 4 containment vessel – has been lowered into place by a crane, Jeffrey Wilson told The Augusta Chronicle on Monday. Wilson is Georgia Power’s nuclear development and crisis communication manager.

Also, hot functional testing has begun, “which is a big test for Unit 3,” Wilson said.

Hot functional testing is expected to verify that the reactor’s components and systems work together correctly, confirming the reactor is ready for its uranium fuel load.

Vogtle’s site team “will begin running Unit 3 plant systems without nuclear fuel and advance through the testing process toward reaching normal operating pressure and temperature,” Georgia Power said in a prepared release.

The passive containment cooling water storage tank, called CB-20, is a vital part o the reactor’s advanced passive safety system, Georgia Power said. The 35-foot-tall tower is designed to hold 750,000 gallons of water.

As of late 2019, all 1,485 major modules required to complete construction had been manufactured and safely delivered, Georgia Power said.

When completed, the two new units at Plant Vogtle are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

Vogtle retains 7,000 workers on site, and more than 800 permanent jobs will be available when the units start generating power. The Vogtle expansion is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state, Georgia Power said.

Cost overruns and various delays have pushed back the expansion’s completion date several times. Cost estimates of the project have exceeded $25 billion.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Co., applied for an early site permit for the two units in 2006. Southern Co. is the parent company of Georgia Power.