Plant Vogtle’s Units 3 and 4, the first new nuclear units built in the United States in the past thirty years(!) are continuing on in their construction, with the two massive cooling towers nearly finished and the nuclear islands and turbine buildings still going up.
The project, now hitting the peak of construction, is employing nearly 5,000 workers, the largest job-producing venture in the state – easily surpassing the two stadiums currently being built in Atlanta. When finished in 2019 and 2020, the two new reactors will help provide power to one of the fastest growing states in the nation, one that is projected to add almost 2 million residents and see energy demand increase by 27% by 2030.
Unsurprisingly, units 3 and 4 will be among the world’s most advanced nuclear power reactors upon completion, using Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor technology, allowing for unparalleled safety by cooling the reactor cores without the need for manual or mechanical assistance. It is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The new model is also cheaper and efficient enough to make any cost-cutting Republican lawmaker blush. According to Georgia Power, the design allows for 50% fewer valves, 35% fewer pumps, 80% less piping, 45% less building volume, and 70% less cable than previous generations of nuclear plants.
See the progress of the whole project and get a sense of the scale from this magnificent drone-captured video below.