Plant Operation

Vogtle-4 / US Nuclear Power Plant Connected To Grid For First Time

By David Dalton
4 March 2024

Westinghouse AP1000 unit could begin commercial operation during second quarter

US Nuclear Power Plant Connected To Grid For First Time
The Vogtle-4 nuclear power plant in the US state of Georgia is nearing commercial operation. Courtesy Georgia Power.

Unit 4 at the Vogtle nuclear power station in the US state of Georgia has been synchronised and connected to the electric grid for the first time.

Georgia Power, majority owner of the Vogle nuclear station, said grid connection is another major milestone in startup testing for the Westinghouse-supplied AP1000 nuclear power plant, which reached first criticality on 14 February.

The company said operators will continue to raise reactor power for generation of electricity while performing tests at various power levels, ultimately raising power to 100%.

Once all startup testing is successfully completed and the unit is available for reliable dispatch, Vogtle-4 will enter commercial operation, planned for the second quarter of 2024.

Vogtle-4 is the second Westinghouse AP1000 plant at the Georgia site. Vogtle-3 began commercial operation on 31 July 2023.

Vogtle-3 and -4 are the first nuclear units to be built in the US in more than three decades, but have seen cost overruns and delays.

The $14bn (€13bn) original cost of Vogtle-3 and -4 has risen to more than $30bn. The cost for Georgia Power, with a 45% share of the project, will be about $15bn.

Construction of Vogtle-3 began in March 2013 and of Vogtle-4 in November 2013. The in-service date for Vogtle-3 when the project was approved in 2012 was 2016.

In October Georgia Power said the in-service date for Vogtle-4 was being pushed back to 2024 due to a motor fault in one of four reactor coolant pumps.

Not including Vogtle-4, the US has 93 operating commercial nuclear reactors at 55 sites in 28 states. They generate about 18% of the country’s electricity. Vogtle-4 is the only unit under construction.

Georgia Power owns 45.7% of Vogtle, with power companies Oglethorpe owning 30%, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) Power 22.7% and Dalton Utilities 1.6%.

There are two older reactors at Vogtle that began commercial operation in the late 1980s.

File photo from 2023 of the four-unit Vogtle nuclear power station, where Unit 4 has now been connected to the grid. Courtesy Georgia Power.

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