Fuel load into the Vogtle Unit 3 reactor core has begun at Plant Vogtle. The fuel load process marks a historic and pivotal milestone toward startup and commercial operation of the first new nuclear units to be built in the U.S. in more than three decades.
The start of Unit 3 fuel load comes after Southern Nuclear received a historic 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in August which signified that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in conformance with the Combined License and NRC regulations.
During fuel load, nuclear technicians and operators from Westinghouse and Southern Nuclear are scheduled to safely transfer 157 fuel assemblies one-by-one from the Unit 3 spent fuel pool to the Unit 3 reactor core in the coming days.
Startup testing will begin next and is designed to demonstrate the integrated operation of the primary coolant system and steam supply system at design temperature and pressure with fuel inside the reactor. Operators will also bring the plant from cold shutdown to initial criticality, synchronize the unit to the electric grid and systematically raise power to 100%. Vogtle Unit 3 is projected to enter service in the first quarter of 2023.
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