Georgia Power completes Vogtle fuel order

06 March 2020

Georgia Power has ordered the first nuclear fuel load for Vogtle unit 4. This means all the initial fuel that will be needed to start up the first nuclear power units to be built in the USA in 30 years has now been ordered. The first load of fuel for Vogtle unit 3 was ordered last July.

The Vogtle construction site pictured in February 2020, with unit 4 in the foreground (Image: Georgia Power)

The 157 fuel assemblies will eventually be loaded into the reactor vessel to enable the reactor to start up and begin operating. Around one-third of the total fuel assemblies will be replaced during each refuelling outage after the units begin operating, in a similar process to that used at the existing Vogtle units 1 and 2.

Two AP1000 reactors are being built at Vogtle in Georgia, in a construction project that has been managed by Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, since 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Work began on unit 3 in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Unit 3 is scheduled to enter commercial operation in November 2021 and unit 4 a year later, but Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning recently told shareholders unit 3 could be brought online as early as May next year, with unit 4 following a year later.

Significant progress continues to be made at the construction site, Georgia power said yesterday. Workers have now installed 10 of the 16 shield building courses of panels that surround the unit 4 containment vessel. The shield building is a unique feature of the AP1000 reactor design for the Vogtle units and provides an additional layer of safety around the containment vessel and nuclear reactor to protect the structure from any potential impacts. The project is now about 84% complete, the company said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News