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The total bill for the reactor expansion project at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia is now expected to exceed $30 billion, according to the Associated Press. The original price tag for the two Westinghouse AP1000 units was $14 billion.

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In this May 22, 2017 file photo shown is the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Middletown, Pa. With nuclear power plant owners seeking a rescue in Pennsylvania, a number of state lawmakers are signaling that they are willing to help, with conditions. Giving nuclear power plants what opponents call a bailout could mean a politically risky vote to hike electric bills. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also known as Plant Vogtle (/ˈvoʊɡəl/),[1] is a four-unit nuclear power plant located in Burke County, near Waynesboro, Georgia, in the southeastern United States. On March 6, 2023, Vogtle Unit 3 reached initial criticality for the first time.[2]

Each unit is a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR), with a General Electric steam turbine and electric generator. Units 1 and 2 were completed in 1987 and 1989, respectively. Each unit has a gross electricity generation capacity of 1,215 MW, for a combined capacity of 2,430 MW.[3] The twin natural-draft cooling towers are 548 ft (167 m) tall and provide cooling to the plant's main condensers. Four smaller mechanical draft cooling towers provide nuclear service cooling water (NSCW) to safety and auxiliary non-safety components, as well as remove the decay heat from the reactor when the plant is offline. One natural-draft tower and two NSCW towers serve each unit. In 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed the licenses for both units for an additional 20 years[4] to 1/16/2047 for Unit 1,[5] and 2/9/2049 for Unit 2.[6][7] During the construction of Vogtle's first two units, capital investment required jumped from an estimated $660 million to $8.87 billion.[8] ($17.1 billion in 2021 dollars[9])

In March 2017, Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to losses from its two U.S. nuclear construction projects.[50] The U.S. government has given $8.3 billion of loan guarantees to help finance construction of the Vogtle reactors,[51] and a way forward to completing the plant has been agreed upon.[52] On July 31, 2017 Southern Company division, Southern Nuclear, officially took over construction from Westinghouse and opened a bid for a new construction management contract to manage the day-to-day work on the site. Southern received bids from Fluor and Bechtel. On August 31, 2017, Southern announced its decision to move forward with Bechtel to be the day-to-day construction manager for the remainder of the project. Bechtel will replace Fluor, who will no longer be involved in the project.[53]

In March 2019 further federal loan guarantees of $3.7 billion were given to the various build partners, taking total federal loan guarantees up to $12 billion. The Georgia Power CEO said the loan guarantees played a key role in reducing financing costs for the build.[58] Also in March 2019, Georgia Power confirmed that the Unit 3 containment cap had been lowered into place and the reactor would be ready to load nuclear fuel in 2020.[59] This was preceded by the containment vessel third ring, as well as reactor coolant pump and polar crane installation in unit 3 during 2018 and 2019. The containment vessel top head was set during a site visit by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and executives of the plant's owners. Recent progress on unit 4 includes the installation of the final steam generator and pressurizer. Unit 4 is being constructed utilizing lessons learned from Unit 3 and from the failed Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station (V.C. Summer) project and as a result the order in which some components are being installed has been modified.[citation needed] On November 22, 2019 the third ring of the containment vessel was set for unit 4, and on December 8, 2019 the unit 3 shield building roof was set above the unit 3 containment vessel. On December 16, 2019 the control room of unit 3 became operational and is now available for testing systems. On February 11, 2020, Southern Nuclear announced that the final concrete placement inside the Unit 3 containment vessel was completed which will allow installation of the reactor's fueling machine. As of February 2020, assembly continues on the final top most vertical feature of the overall Unit 3 reactor building, the passive containment cooling system storage tank, which will be set on top of the Shield Building Roof.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[66] 041b061a72


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