The first new nuclear unit built in the United States in more than 30 years will soon be powering hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
Georgia Power announced that its AP1000 unit at the Vogtle nuclear plant outside Waynesboro reached initial criticality on March 6.
“Criticality” means that operators safely started a sustained nuclear reaction. “This means atoms are being split and nuclear heat is being made, which will be used to produce steam … for the production of electricity,” explains a company press release.
The next steps will prepare the reactor’s power output for synchronization with the electric grid, and Georgia Power anticipates that the in-service date will occur in May or June.