ATLANTA, Nov. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Major systems testing is underway at Georgia Power's Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project near Waynesboro, Georgia, as the site continues to transition from construction toward system operations. The latest phase of testing, Open Vessel Testing, will demonstrate how water flows from the key safety systems into the reactor vessel ensuring the paths are not blocked or constricted.
"This is a significant step on our path towards operations," said Glen Chick, Vogtle 3 & 4 Construction Executive Vice President. "Open Vessel Testing will prepare the unit for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing next year – both critical tests required ahead of initial fuel load."
Open Vessel Testing will also confirm that the pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed. It follows the Integrated Flush process, which began in August, to push water through system piping and mechanical components that feed into the Unit 3 reactor vessel and reactor coolant loops for the first time. Integrated Flush will clean and remove any foreign material ahead of the initial startup of the unit.
Significant progress continues at the site with recent milestones completed, including the placement of the final reinforced concrete portion of the Unit 4 shield building. The 148-cubic yard placement took eight hours to complete and, once cured, allows for the placement of the first course of double-decker panels. Also, the upper inner casing for the Unit 3 high-pressure turbine has been placed, signifying the completion of the centerline alignment, which will mean minimal vibration and less stress on the rotors during operations, resulting in more efficient power generation.
Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, with more than 8,000 workers currently on site, and more than 800 jobs available once the units begin operating.
About Georgia Power Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America's premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower), Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower) and Instagram (Instagram.com/ga_power).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the expected schedule for construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4. Georgia Power cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction, and operation of facilities, including Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which includes components based on new technology that only recently began initial operation in the global nuclear industry at this scale, and including changes in labor costs, availability and productivity; challenges with management of contractors, subcontractors or vendors; adverse weather conditions; shortages, delays, increased costs or inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor; contractor or supplier delay; delays due to judicial or regulatory action; nonperformance under construction, operating, or other agreements; operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs; engineering or design problems; design and other licensing-based compliance matters, including the timely submittal by Southern Nuclear of the Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria documentation for each unit and the related reviews and approvals by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") necessary to support NRC authorization to load fuel; challenges with start-up activities, including major equipment failure, system integration or regional transmission upgrades; and/or operational performance; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses (including satisfaction of NRC requirements), to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to construction projects, such as Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 and pipeline projects, including public service commission approvals and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and NRC actions; under certain specified circumstances, a decision by holders of more than 10% of the ownership interests of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 not to proceed with construction, and the ability of other Vogtle owners to tender a portion of their ownership interests to Georgia Power following certain construction cost increases; the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities; the ability of counterparties of Georgia Power and its subsidiaries to make payments as and when due and to perform as required. Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward‐looking information.