(Media release from Georgia Power):

Georgia Power on Monday announced the completion of hot functional testing for Unit 4 at the Vogtle nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga. The completion of hot functional testing marks a significant step towards operations and providing customers with a reliable, carbon-free energy source for the next 60 to 80 years. Unit 4 is projected to enter service in late fourth quarter 2023 or the first quarter 2024.

“The energy and enthusiasm at the Vogtle site, and across our entire company, is high with Unit 3 in the final stages of startup testing and Unit 4 making progress towards safely loading fuel,” said Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “The team at Unit 4 has been able to take lessons learned from Unit 3 and apply them. That has allowed us to safely complete hot functional testing on Unit 4 in significantly less time than we did for Unit 3. It’s incredible that these new units will provide our state with zero-emissions energy for the next 60 to 80 years, and that’s thanks to the dedication of the teams at the site to getting these units built, and built right.”

During hot functional testing, plant systems achieved normal operating pressure and temperature, without nuclear fuel in the reactor, to demonstrate the systems will operate on an integrated basis as designed. Now, the site team focuses on completing the remaining work necessary to submit documentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that all inspection, tests and analyses have been performed and all acceptance criteria, collectively known as ITAACS, have been met on Vogtle Unit 4 as required by Southern Nuclear’s Combined Operating License. Each ITAAC closure notice must be verified by the NRC before fuel can be loaded into the reactor.

The new Vogtle units are an essential part of Georgia Power’s commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers. Once operating, the two new units, which will be clean energy sources that produce zero emissions, are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.