Go-ahead to break ground for new US reactors

09 April 2009

Southern Nuclear has given notice to its main contractors to proceed towards two new reactors at Vogtle. Permissions already in place allow some construction work to begin.


Vogtle - new reactors
How Vogtle 3 and 4 could look
The reactors in question are two Westinghouse AP1000 units which Southern's subsidiary Georgia Power contracted Westinghouse and Shaw to build in April exactly one year ago. That contract was submitted to the Georgia Public Service Commission and gained approval in mid March - including permission for Georgia Power to begin recovering the cost of the new reactors from ratepayers bills.


The engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Westinghouse and Shaw will see the companies supply and construct the entire facility with the exception of 'certain items' provided by the plant's co-owners, although exact contract terms, conditions and value have not yet been released.


 "We are poised to break ground on
  one of the first new US nuclear
  construction projects in more than
  30 years."

  J M Bernhard

  Chairman, president and CEO of Shaw


Southern's application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) reached a certain point in February at which limited construction work would be permitted at the site when the NRC released the final safety evaluation related to Southern's application for an Early Site Permit. The full result of the ESP application should be known by the end of this year.


Full construction, however, can only start once a combined construction and operating license is issued for the project, expected in mid-2011.


Two reactors already operate at Vogtle, starting up in May 1987 and May 1989. Each of the Westinghouse pressurized water reactors (PWRs) is capable of generating 1215 MWe. The two new units will each produce 1105 MWe.