ATLANTA, March 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 today near Waynesboro, Georgia, to 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.
"Since the project began, we have committed to minimize the impact these new units will have on customers' bills, and securing these loans plays a key role by reducing our financing costs and passing along those benefits to our customers," said Bowers. "We thank the administration, DOE, Secretary Rick Perry and members of Congress for their continued support of the Vogtle 3 & 4 project."
Secretary Perry also witnessed one of the most important milestones for the project to date – 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.
"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."
"We have made significant progress since taking over construction at the site and expect that momentum to continue this year," said Bowers. "Placement of the Unit 3 top head is a historic milestone for the project, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the Vogtle 3 & 4 team as we transition these units closer to operation."
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.
Georgia Power owns 45.7 percent of the new units, with the project's other co-owners including Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.
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.
Significant progress continues at the site, with the project now approximately 75 percent complete. Several significant milestones have been achieved in recent months including:
- More than 23,000 cubic yards of concrete was placed in 2018, and nearly 600,000 cubic yards for the project to date, enough to build a sidewalk from Miami to Seattle. In addition, more than 16,200 yards, or nine miles, of piping was installed in 2018 alone.
- The Unit 4 pressurizer, which will provide pressure control inside the reactor coolant system once the unit begins operating, was placed inside the containment vessel in February.
- The integrated head package (IHP) was set inside the Unit 3 containment vessel in late January. The IHP, weighing 475,000 pounds and standing 48-feet tall, combines several separate components in one assembly and allows the rapid removal of the reactor vessel head during a refueling outage.
- Progress also continues on the Unit 3 shield building, with additional double-decker panels placed in January. A total of eight six-panel sections have been placed, with each one measuring 20 feet tall and 114 feet wide, and weighing up to 300,000 pounds. To date, more than half of the shield building panels have been placed for Unit 3. The shield building panels, fabricated in Newport News, Va., provide structural support to the containment cooling water supply and protect the containment vessel, which houses the reactor vessel and associated equipment.
Follow the progress being made at the site with new photos and video available at: Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 Online Photo Gallery.
About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), America's premier energy company. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.6 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower), Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower) and Instagram (Instagram.com/ga_power).
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.
SOURCE Georgia Power
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