Cold hydro testing for Vogtle 4 completed

08 December 2022

Georgia Power has announced the successful completion of cold hydro testing for Vogtle unit 4, which it describes as "another critical milestone along the path" to bringing online the first new nuclear units in the USA for more than 30 years. 

Vogtle 4, left, and Vogtle 3, pictured in October (Image: Georgia Power) During the testing the reactor coolant system was filled with water and pressurised above normal operating conditions, then lowered to normal design pressure while inspections took place to verify systems met design standards, including checking that welds, joint pipes and other components do not leak under pressure.

Chris Womack, CEO and chairman of Georgia Power, said: "These units are a long-term investment for our state and essential to building the future of energy for Georgia. For the next 60 to 80 years, they will help us continue to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers, serving generations of Georgians as clean, emission-free sources of energy."

Closed vessel testing was completed in November and unit 4's turbine was rotated on its turning gear for the first time "demonstrating the turbine was assembled with quality and that integrated oil systems function as designed". Once operational the turbine will rotate at 1800 revolutions per minute.

Loading of nuclear fuel for Vogtle 3 took place in October and Georgia Power said "teams at the site have continued to advance through various phases of start-up testing. Vogtle unit 3 is projected to enter service in the first quarter of 2023".

Construction of Vogtle 3 began in March 2013 and Vogtle 4 in November that year. They are both AP1000s.  Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the project to build the units in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Once operating, the two new units will be able to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. Southern Nuclear will operate the new unit on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News