New Nuclear Reactor Goes Online After Years Of Delays And Bloating Costs

(Twitter/ Screenshot/ Public — User: GeorgiaPower)

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The Plant Vogtle Unit 3 nuclear reactor went online Monday outside of Augusta, Georgia, more than six years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, according to E&E News.

The reactor is the first built from scratch to go online in the 21st century, according to E&E News. The project was initially set to become fully operational in 2016, but logistical problems pushed that timeline back and led to a budget overrun of approximately $17 billion, according to The Associated Press.

The Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office provided $12 billion in loan guarantees pursuant to the development, according to E&E News. The new reactor will be able to generate up to 1,000 megawatts of power. (RELATED: ‘Cannot Power The World With Solar Panels And Wind Turbines Alone’: Bipartisan Lawmakers Advocate For Increased Nuclear Energy)

Georgia Power Company, a utility provider owned by the Southern Company, operates the reactor, according to Georgia Power’s website. The Plant Vogtle Unit 4 reactor, which is part of the same expansion project, is expected to go online sometime in late 2023 or early 2024, according to POWER Magazine.

Unit 3’s entry into commercial energy operations “marks the first day of the next 60 to 80 years that Vogtle Unit 3 will serve our customers with clean, reliable energy,” Georgia Power’s CEO Kim Greene said in a Monday press release, also stating that it is “important that we make these kinds of long-term investments and see them through.”

Delays in construction of Unit 3 forced the Westinghouse Electric Company, a giant in the history of American industry, into bankruptcy when the company was unable to eat cost overruns, according to the AP.

Nuclear energy provided just over 18% of the electricity consumed by Americans in 2022, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Some Western lawmakers have embraced nuclear energy as a reliable and low-emission power source of the future, particularly after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine sent shocks through the international oil market.

The Southern Company did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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