JEA Nuclear Milestone: 1st Fuel Arrives At New Unit Of Georgia’s Plant Vogtle

Dec 15, 2020

Plant Vogtle, which JEA has a contract to buy power from, has reached a milestone with the first nuclear fuel shipment for Unit 3, which has been under construction.

Georgia Power has been expanding the nuclear plant with two new units that have been plagued with cost overruns and delays.

"Achieving this historic milestone brings us closer to fuel load expected in April 2021, and, once online, these new nuclear units will provide clean, carbon-free energy for the next 60 to 80 years," said Georgia Power Chairman & CEO Paul Bowers in a news release.

JEA settled a lawsuit with Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) in July after attempting to get out of its deal to buy nuclear power from the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, which is commonly referred to as Plant Vogtle.

Plant Vogtle is jointly owned by Georgia Power, MEAG Power, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities.

JEA entered into its power purchase agreement with MEAG Power in 2008. At the time, JEA’s portion of the project was expected to cost $1.4 billion, but the cost overruns that JEA must absorb totaled more than $2.9 billion by 2019, and JEA expected that uncapped liability to continue rising.

Now that the first nuclear fuel assemblies have arrived, the next major milestone for Unit 3 will be hot functional testing. After that comes loading the fuel and putting the unit into service.

Once fully operational, Plant Vogtle will be able to power more than a half-million homes and businesses.

Despite the plant's cost overruns, in July JEA and MEAG issued a statement saying they still believe Plant Vogtle will deliver "cost-effective" power.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.