Georgia Power has completed the hot functional testing for Unit 4 at the Vogtle nuclear expansion project, located near the city of Waynesboro, Burke County, Georgia, US.

The company said that the plant systems achieved normal operating pressure and temperature, without nuclear fuel in the reactor, during hot functional testing.

The testing confirms that the systems at the Vogtle Unit 4 will operate on an integrated basis as per their intended design.

Georgia Power said that its team at the site will focus on completing the remaining work that is necessary for submission to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The submission to NRC indicates the completion of tests and analyses on Vogtle Unit 4, and the unit meets all acceptance criteria, known as ITAACS, as required by Southern Nuclear’s Combined Operating License.

Georgia Power chairman, president and CEO Kim Greene said: “The energy and enthusiasm at the Vogtle site, and across our entire company, is high with Unit 3 in the final stages of startup testing and Unit 4 making progress towards safely loading fuel.

“The team at Unit 4 has been able to take lessons learned from Unit 3 and apply them. That has allowed us to safely complete hot functional testing on Unit 4 in significantly less time than we did for Unit 3.

“It’s incredible that these new units will provide our state with zero-emissions energy for the next 60 to 80 years, and that’s thanks to the dedication of the teams at the site to getting these units built and built right.”

Georgia Power said that the completion of hot functional testing represents an important step towards providing customers with a carbon-free energy source for the coming 60 to 80 years.

Unit 4 is expected to begin services in the late fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2024.

According to the company, new Vogtle units are an important part of its commitment to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy to its 2.7 million customers.

Once operating, the two new units, which will be clean energy sources producing zero emissions, will power more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

Southern Nuclear will operate the new nuclear power units, on behalf of the co-owners, Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.