Vogtle Unit 3 Reaches Initial Criticality

First nuclear reaction initiated safely marks last step before power generation

ATLANTE , March 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Georgia Power today announced that Vogtle’s Unit 3 has safely reached initial criticality. Initial criticality is a key step in the start-up test sequence and demonstrates that, for the first time, operators have safely started the nuclear reaction inside the reactor. This means that atoms are split and nuclear heat is produced which will be used to produce steam.

A reactor reaches criticality when the nuclear fission reaction becomes self-sustaining. The achievement of the initial criticality is necessary to continue the start-up of the Unit in order to generate sufficient heat for the production of electricity.

“We remain focused on bringing this unit online safely, fully resolving all issues, and getting it right at every level. Reaching initial criticality is one of the last steps in the start-up process and a required considerable diligence and attention to detail from our teams,” said Chris Womack, Chairman, President and CEO of Georgia Power. “When you consider the decades-long history of safe and reliable operations of Vogtle Units 1 and 2, it puts today’s milestone into perspective that Plant Vogtle will be a four-unit site, making it the largest of its kind in the United States. Really exciting time as we prepare to bring a new nuclear unit online that will provide our state with clean, emissions-free energy for the next 60 to 80 years.”

The Vogtle 3 unit continues with start-up tests that demonstrate the integrated operation of the primary coolant system and the steam supply system at design temperature and pressure with fuel inside the reactor. Now that the Unit 3 reactor has reached criticality, operators will continue to increase power to support generator synchronization with the power grid and begin generating electricity. Then the operators will continue to increase the power in several steps, eventually increasing the power to 100%. These tests are designed to ensure that all systems work together and to validate operating procedures prior to declaration of commercial operation. The commissioning date for Unit 3 is scheduled for May or June 2023.

The new Vogtle units are a vital part of Georgia Power’s commitment to providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable power to its 2.7 million customers. Once in service, the two new units, which will be clean energy sources that produce no air pollution, are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest power 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 2.7 million customers in all but four countries. georgia 159 counties. Committed to providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, Georgia Power maintains a diverse and innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydro and electricity. wind. Georgia Power is focused on providing world-class service to its customers every day and the company is recognized by JD Power 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).

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this press release is forward-looking information based on current plans and expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements regarding the expected in-service date of Plant Vogtle Unit 3. Georgia Power cautions that certain factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information provided. . Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such 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 beyond Georgia Power’s control; therefore, there can be no assurance that these suggested results will be achieved. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management, as suggested by this forward-looking information: the potential effects of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns when developing, constructing and operating facilities or other projects, including Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which include components based on new technology that have only come into operation in the last few years in the global nuclear industry at this scale, due to current and/or future challenges which include, but are not limited to , changes in labor costs, availability and productivity, challenges in managing contractors or suppliers, performance of contractors, adverse weather conditions, shortages, delays, increased inconsistent costs or quality of equipment, materials and labor, contractor or supplier delay, inflation impacts, delays due to legal or regulatory action, non-performance of agreements construction, operating or other, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and site safety programs required, engineering or design issues or any related solution, design and other licensing-based compliance matters, including, for Vogtle Plant Unit 4, inspections and Southern Nuclear’s timely submission of inspection, test, analysis and performance criteria documentation acceptance and related investigations, reviews and approvals by NRC necessary to support NRC authorization to load fuel, start-up activity challenges including major equipment failures or system integration and/or or operational performance, ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic or future pandemic health events, continued and policymaker support for projects, environmental and geological conditions, delays or increased costs of interconnecting facilities to transmission networks, and increased financing costs due to changes in market interest rates or project delays; the ability to overcome or mitigate current challenges at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 that could further impact the cost and schedule of the project; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to construction projects, such as Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including Public Service Commission approvals and NRC actions; in certain specified circumstances, a decision by the holders of more than 10% of the interests in Units 3 and 4 of Plant Vogtle not to proceed with construction; the notice of offer by Oglethorpe Power Corporation and the City of Dalton of a portion of their interests in Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 to Georgia Power, including related litigation; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with permit and license requirements (including meeting NRC requirements), meet all environmental performance standards and tax credit and other incentive requirements, and integrate the facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; risks inherent in the operation and construction of nuclear generating facilities; the ability of Georgia Power’s counterparties to make payments when due and to perform their obligations; the direct or indirect effect on Georgia Power’s business resulting from a cyber intrusion or physical attack and the threat of cyber attacks and physical attacks; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events, political unrest, wars or other similar events; and direct or indirect effects on Georgia Power’s business resulting from incidents affecting the US electrical grid or the operation of generation or storage resources. Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.

SOURCEGeorgia Power

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