Latest News: Vogtle Unit 4 starts nuclear fuel load (8/17/2023)
August 1, 1976
Unit 1: June 1, 1987
Unit 2: May 20, 1989
Pressurized Water Reactor
Total generating capacity:
~ 2,430 MW
June 22, 2009
Unit 3: July 31, 2023
Unit 4: Under construction
~ 2,234 MW
Nuclear energy is a secure, dependable source of power for the United States. It is not subject to unpredictable weather or climate conditions, and consumers benefit greatly from the fact that nuclear fuel costs fluctuate less often than other fuel sources.
aajogo is committed to the safety of our employees, facility and, most importantly, our neighbors. Neighbors of Plant Vogtle should use this information brochure to stay informed about our facility and know what to do in the unlikely case of an emergency.
This media guide is designed to provide quick, specific information about Plant Vogtle, as well as the benefits of nuclear power, safety and security, emergency planning, and more. We hope this information will help you when you cover stories about Plant Vogtle or the nuclear power industry.
This brochure is an overview of Plant Vogtle, how nuclear energy works, radiation, the fuel, and more.
A nuclear energy facility is not all that different from coal, oil or gas-fueled plants. The difference between traditional energy methods and nuclear energy is that nuclear plants do not burn anything.
At a nuclear energy facility, the heat used to make steam is produced by fission. Turbines, powered by steam, turn to produce electricity.
1. Water is pumped through the reactor core, heated by the fission process, pumped through thousands of tubes in the four steam generators and back to the reactor in a closed loop.
2. Cooler water in the steam generator comes in contact with the hot tubes and turns to steam.
3. The steam goes to the turbine and spins the turbine blades.
4. The turbine spins the electric generator to produce electricity.
5. The steam goes to the condenser where it turns to liquid again to continue the cycle.
6. The water that circulates through the condenser is cooled by large cooling towers.
The Vogtle Electric Generating Plant is named for Alvin W. Vogtle Jr., past Chairman of the Board of Southern Company. He was elected President of Southern Company in 1969, Chief Executive Officer in 1970 and Chairman of the Board in 1983.
The discipline and determination which characterized Mr. Vogtle’s work at Southern Company were defined during World War II after he was captured by the Germans and made a prisoner of war.
During 26 months of confinement, he tried to escape on five separate occasions. On his sixth attempt, he reached the Swiss border, scaled a 15-foot-high barbed wire fence, and crossed the Rhine River to Switzerland and freedom. In 1963, United Artists produced “The Great Escape,” a film which was based in part on Mr. Vogtle’s war-time experiences.
After being captured in North Africa, Lt. Vogtle was transported to a prisoner-of-war camp in the heart of Germany. He escaped after six months of imprisonment, but he was recaptured in the Czechoslovakian town of Bakov.
From Luft Stalag III, he made three more unsuccessful escape attempts. Then, on January 27, 1945, the Germans evacuated the camp and sent the prisoners by boxcar to Moosburg, Germany. Lt. Vogtle escaped from the train but was recaptured in Dunharr. He was sent to Moosburg for imprisonment but, in only a few weeks, he made his sixth and final escape through southern Germany to Diepoldsau, Switzerland.
Alvin Vogtle, Jr. died in 1994.
Portrait of Alvin Vogtle. (Southern Nuclear)
Once Units 3 & 4 are operational, more than 1,600 people – including engineers, mechanics, control room operators, chemists, electricians, security officers and others – will oversee the operations of the four units 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Significant progress continues to be made at the Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear expansion site with the total project approximately 98.5% complete as of January 31, 2023. aajogo currently projects a Unit 3 in-service date during May or June 2023 and a Unit 4 in-service date during late fourth quarter 2023 or during the first quarter 2024.
Vogtle 3 & 4 are an essential part of aajogo’s commitment to deliver safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy for customers. The units will also play a significant role in supporting Southern Company’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Nuclear power units like Vogtle are the most reliable energy source, able to generate electricity at full power 24/7 – more than twice as much as solar and wind resources. Nuclear power units also require fewer maintenance outages than coal or natural gas, making electricity even more reliable for Georgians.
Vogtle 3 & 4 are Westinghouse AP1000 plants. The Westinghouse AP1000 technology utilizes a simplified, innovative and effective approach to safety. Plant simplifications yield fewer components, cable and seismic building volume, all which contribute to lower operation and maintenance costs. One of the safety features of the AP1000 include no required Operator action for 72 hours to maintain core and containment cooling in the unlikely event of an accident.
The benefits of clean nuclear power are many. First and foremost, nuclear power is a clean, safe, affordable and reliable source of electricity. Nuclear power provides 16 percent of Southern Company’s generation, and we have been operating nuclear plants safely and reliably for more than 40 years.
Uranium is used as nuclear fuel, and it has less price volatility than other fuel sources.
After enough U-235 has been used up in the fission process, the fuel assemblies need to be removed and replaced with new fuel assemblies. However, the used fuel is highly radioactive. At most plants, used fuel is stored in large, steel-lined, concrete pools filled with water. These pools are known as spent fuel pools. Both water and concrete are excellent radiation shields. In these spent fuel pools, the water acts as an absorber, which prevents radiation from escaping from the pool. The water also keeps the fuel cool while the fuel decays, or becomes less radioactive over time. The water itself never leaves the inside of the plant’s concrete auxiliary building.
Our commitment to Reliability
We're always preparing for how to meet the future needs of our customers by strengthening the power grid – making it smarter and more resilient, to reduce outages and shorten restoration times.
To date, nearly 100 nuclear facilities in the U.S. provide about 20% of all electricity in the country. These facilities generate electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Learn more about Vogtle Unit 3 connecting to the grid.