U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and North America's Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey joined Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning, Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Paul Bowers and hundreds of workers and special guests at the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion project Friday to witness the placement of the top of the containment vessel for Unit 3, signifying that all modules and large components have been placed inside the unit.
During his speech, Secretary Perry announce the closing of approximately $1.67 billion in additional Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees for the new Vogtle units.
In addition, Georgia Public Service Commissioners Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, Tim Echols, Chuck Eaton, Tricia Pridemore and Jason Shaw were also in attendance, along with U.S. Representatives Rick Allen and Buddy Carter, and Vogtle 3 & 4 co-owners: Oglethorpe Power President and CEO Mike Smith, MEAG Power President and CEO Jim Fuller and Dalton Utilities CEO Tom Bundros.
"The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry," said Secretary Perry. "A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid and strengthens our energy and national security. As I've witnessed firsthand today, Vogtle is also an energy infrastructure project with a massive scope employing thousands of workers. This project is rebuilding a highly skilled U.S. nuclear workforce and supply chain for the future."
Georgia Power had previously secured loan guarantees of $3.46 billion for the construction of the new units, the first to be built in the United States in more than 30 years.
" We have made significant progress since taking over construction at the site and expect that momentum to continue this year," said Bowers. "We thank the administration, DOE, Secretary Rick Perry and members of Congress for their continued support of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project."
"The progress we are marking today is a direct result of the tremendous support the project has received," said Fanning. "From the very beginning, public and private partners have stood with us as we endeavor to build the first new nuclear development in the U.S. in a generation. Everyone involved in the project remains focused on sustaining our momentum and is poised to execute on the important work to come in the days ahead."
The containment vessel is a high-integrity steel structure that houses critical plant components. The top head is 130 feet in diameter, 37 feet tall, and weighs nearly 1.5 million pounds, more than two fully loaded jumbo jets. It’s comprised of 58 large plates, welded together, each more than an inch and a half thick.
Progress and Productivity
With more than 7,000 workers currently onsite and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia. Recruiting efforts continue to attract additional craft workers to the Vogtle 3 & 4 project, with more than 700 pipefitters, electricians and other craft labor joining the project since Nov. 1.
“Thank you for your continued dedication to completing such a significant project,” Fanning expressed to the hundreds of workers at the event. “This is nationally and internationally important to our industry and you all get to be a part of this legacy!”
Progress continues at the site, with the project now approximately 75 percent complete. Several significant milestones have been achieved in recent months including:
Follow the progress being made at the site with new photos and video available here.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this communication is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning expected construction progress at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 and the expected benefit of the additional DOE loan guarantees. Georgia Power cautions that there are certain factors that could 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 impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation or regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; available sources and costs of natural gas and other fuels; effects of inflation; 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, including changes in labor costs, availability, and productivity; challenges with management of contractors, subcontractors, or vendors; adverse weather conditions; shortages, increased costs, or inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor; contractor or supplier delay; non-performance 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 resolution of Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria and the related approvals by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); challenges with start-up activities, including major equipment failure and system integration; 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; advances in technology; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including Georgia Public Service Commission approvals 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 co-owners to tender a portion of their ownership interests to Georgia Power following certain construction cost increases; in the event Georgia Power becomes obligated to provide funding to Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) with respect to the portion of MEAG's ownership interest in Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 involving Jacksonville Electric Authority, any inability of Georgia Power to receive repayment of such funding; the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; changes in The Southern Company's or Georgia Power's credit ratings; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies. Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.