Southern Nuclear has submitted documentation that hundreds of inspections, tests and analyses have been performed and all acceptance criteria, collectively known as ITAACs, have been met on Vogtle Unit 4 as required by its Combined Operating License.

As defined by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), each ITAAC closure notice must be verified before fuel load.

The company now awaits receipt of the 103(g) finding from NRC documenting that license acceptance criteria for Unit 4 have been met. This will indicate that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in conformance with NRC regulations.

All 157 fuel assemblies required for the operation of the Unit 4 reactor have been delivered to the site, Southern Nuclear said. Each fuel assembly was inspected and transferred to the new fuel storage racks before being placed into the spent fuel pool where all the assemblies will be stored until they are loaded into the Unit 4 reactor during fuel load.

Georgia Power said fuel load is expected at Unit 4 in the third quarter of 2023. The unit is projected to enter service in late fourth quarter 2023 or the first quarter 2024.

Vogtle Unit 3 missed its most recent deadline of June to come online, due to a problem in the hydrogen system used to cool its main electrical generator. Last month Georgia Power estimated the reactor will begin reliably sending electricity to the grid this month.

Units 3 and 4 at Plant Vogtle are the first new reactors built from scratch in decades in the United States. The first two reactors have been generating electricity at Vogtle for decades.

The project, which is seven years behind schedule, has seen the cost that its owners will pay double to more than $31 billion. That doesn’t include $3.7 billion that original contractor Westinghouse paid to the owners after going bankrupt, which brings total spending to almost $35 billion.

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