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Georgia Power begins fuel load into Plant Vogtle

Georgia Power

Georgia Power announced it has begun loading fuel into Plant Vogtle, putting the first new nuclear unit built in the U.S. in more than 30 years on the path to commercial operation.

157 fuel assemblies will be transferred into the reactor core at Plant Vogtle, southeast of Augusta, in the coming days. Next, startup tests will determine whether the plant’s cooling and steam supply systems work while fuel inside the reactor reaches super-high temperatures and pressures created by splitting atoms.

The project, which was supposed to start service in 2016, has run into a series of price hikes and scheduling delays; the projected $14 billion price tag has more than doubled in the decade following its initial approval, prompting criticism from environmental and consumer advocacy groups who argue that investment in renewable power could save customers millions of dollars.

Chris Womack, chairman and CEO of Georgia Power, said the fuel loading shows “steady and evident progress” at Vogtle, and estimated service to begin in the first quarter of 2023.

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