Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Morning headlines: After years of delay, GA nuclear reactor hits key milestone

Part of Vogtle Rector 3 under construction in July 2022
Southern Co.
Part of Vogtle Rector 3 under construction in July 2022

Years late and massively over budget, the nation’s first new nuclear reactors built in decades have reached a significant milestone.

Federal regulators say the owner of Georgia’s Plant Vogtle can begin loading radioactive fuel into one of the two reactors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says their inspectors have verified that Vogtle Unit Three has been properly built and will protect public health and safety when it transitions into operation.

After it’s loaded, operators will test to make sure that the reactor can operate at the extreme temperature and pressure needed to split atoms. Once those tests are done, operators will link up the plant to the electrical grid.

Reactors three and four were approved for construction ten years ago, with the third reactor projected at that time to begin generating power in 2016. Over the year, its cost rose from $14 billion to $30 billion.

Georgia Power’s CEO touts the new reactors as a reliable, clear and a carbon emission free source of energy for the next 60 to 80 years.

Kemp visits tourism conference in Athens

Georgia’s Governor was back in his hometown of Athens Wednesday.

Governor Brian Kemp attended the 2022 Governor’s Tourism Conference for the finale of the three-day event. He applauded the industry for attracting pre-pandemic levels of domestic visitors. Kemp said in 2021, Georgia travel and tourism generated a total economic impact of $64.5 billion, supporting more than 422,600 jobs.

More than 400 travel and hospitality professionals attended the conference, which was presented by Explore Georgia, the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Senate debate schedule still unclear

Georgia U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker has agreed to debate Senator Raphael Warnock in Savannah on October 14th.

Walker has been proclaiming his readiness to debate Warnock for months, but his campaign in recent weeks has expressed concern over whether the formats and moderators would be fair to Walker.

Whether the debate actually takes place between Walker and Warnock is still unknown. Warnock accepted invitations for three debates with a Savannah TV station, the Atlanta Press Club and a group of stations in Macon.

Walker agreed to debates with Nexstar, which operates six local television stations in Georgia. For now, the Atlanta and Macon debates will take place, but only Warnock and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver will meet.

Sea turtles set new nesting record

Rare sea turtles that spend summers laying eggs on Southern beaches have crawled to a new state record in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says more than 3,960 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been counted since May along the Georgia coast. That’s 10 more nests than the previous state record set in 2019, and the number will likely grow.

The nesting season typically continues through August. Even with the record, it may take another 20 years before the numbers reach the goals of Georgia’s sea turtle recovery program.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!