31 July 2019
US utility Georgia Power has ordered the first fuel load for unit 3 of the Vogtle nuclear power plant. The unit - one of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors under construction at the site in the state of Georgia - is scheduled to enter service in November 2021.
Construction of Vogtle 3, pictured in June 2019 (Image: Georgia Power)
Consisting of 157 fuel assemblies, each measuring 4.3 meters in length, the fuel will eventually be loaded into unit 3's reactor vessel to support startup once the reactor begins operating. Following this initial fuelling, about one-third of the total fuel assemblies will be replaced during each refuelling outage after the unit begins operating.
Construction of Vogtle unit 3 began in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the construction project in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Significant progress continues to be made at the construction site, Georgia Power noted, with the recent placement of unit 3's containment vessel top, as well as the completion of the instalation of three low-pressure turbine rotors and the generator rotor inside the unit's turbine building. The high-pressure turbine rotor will be installed in the coming weeks. In May, the company announced the initial energisation of the individual electrical components at Vogtle 3.
Vogtle 3 is scheduled to enter service by November 2021 and unit 4 by November 2022.
All four of the Chinese AP1000 projects at Haiyang and Sanmen are now in commercial operation.