As nuclear power re-emerges as a viable way to meet new demand for electricity, with the added benefit of no greenhouse gas emissions, Southern Company is leading the nation's nuclear energy renaissance. On Feb. 10, 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant, signifying that full construction can begin. We're the first U.S. utility in more than 30 years to build new nuclear-powered generation as part of our diverse portfolio of smarter, cleaner energy sources.
Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, Ga., has two nuclear generating units with more than 2,400 megawatts of capacity. We're building two new nuclear units, units 3 and 4, at Plant Vogtle.
Our New Nuclear Units
- Two new nuclear units will add more than 2,200 megawatts of capacity.
- Startups are planned for 2017 and 2018.
- The units will incorporate light-water Westinghouse AP1000 design technology.
- This technology has received design certification from the NRC, and is safe, efficient and simpler than current models.
- The units are owned by Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) and Dalton Utilities. Together, these companies provide electric service to most Georgians.
- Georgia Power's cost is $4.8 billion plus approximately $2 billion in financing costs to be collected during construction.
Benefits of New Nuclear
- Nuclear energy is a secure, dependable source of power that is not subject to unreliable weather or climate conditions.
- Nuclear fuel costs have been much less volatile than other fuel sources.
- Vogtle Units 3 and 4 represents the best economic value — up to $4 billion more — over available alternatives.
- The units are expected to create approximately 5,000 jobs during construction and an additional 800 jobs when the units begin operation.
Current Status of Vogtle's New Units
- In February 2012, the NCR issued the Combined Construction and Operating Licenses (COL) for Vogtle units 3 and 4, allowing full construction to proceed at the site.
Background and Schedule
By 2030, electrical demand is projected to increase 27 percent in the Southeast. Southern Company has been planning for new nuclear generation since 2005 to help extend reliable and affordable supplies of electricity.
- In 2009, the Georgia Public Service Commission certified the new units and passed Senate Bill 31, allowing the company to recover financing costs during construction, saving customers $300 million.
- In February 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy offered Georgia Power a conditional commitment for loan guarantees for the construction of the units.