Georgia Power announced that hot functional testing began at Vogtle Unit 4, marking one of the final steps for the new nuclear unit ahead of fuel loading.

Hot functional testing is conducted without fuel in the reactor. This testing is done to verify the successful operation of reactor components and systems together when the plant is at operating temperature and pressure conditions.

During testing, operators will use the heat generated by the unit’s four reactor coolant pumps to raise the temperature and pressure of plant systems to normal operating levels. Then the unit’s main turbine will be raised to normal operating speed using steam from the plant. Nuclear operators will then be able to validate reactor protection systems, emergency core cooling systems and containment systems.

Georgia Power is projecting Vogtle Unit 4 to come online late-2023 or early-2024.

Vogtle Unit 3 is expected to come online first, with a May or June date. Startup testing is already underway.

The two AP-1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle, each with a capacity of approximately 1,100 MW, are the first new units to be built in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Cost overruns and construction problems have long delayed the project.

Southern Nuclear will operate Vogtle Units 3 and 4 on behalf of co-owners Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

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