The Vogtle nuclear power plant is being expanded with two new units. Image courtesy of Georgia Power.
The new units will be built on a 3,200-acre site along the Savannah river. Image courtesy of Georgia Power.
The expansion of the Vogtle power plant will provide 3,500 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. Image courtesy of Georgia Power.

The Alvin W. Vogtle nuclear power plant, popularly known as Vogtle nuclear power plant, is located near the city of Waynesboro, Georgia, US, is being expanded with the addition of two new units. The new units, numbered three and four, will have a combined capacity of 2.23GW.

The plant is owned by Georgia Power Company (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power Corporation (30%), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%), and Dalton Utilities (1.6%). It is operated by Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Georgia Power Company.

The final regulatory approval for the expansion was received from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in February 2012. The units three and four are expected to be commissioned in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The two units will together generate 17.2TW/h of clean energy and displace ten million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The Vogtle nuclear power plant expansion will provide 3,500 construction jobs in construction phase and approximately 800 permanent jobs in operational phase. The project will produce sufficient energy to power 500,000 households in Georgia.

Location of Vogtle nuclear plant units 3 and 4

The two new units will be built within the 3,200-acre site located approximately 34 miles (54.7km) south of Augusta, Georgia, along the Savannah river in Burke County, near Waynesboro.

The new units will occupy an area of 1,000 acres on the site.

Reactor details of Vogtle nuclear power plant expansion

The units 3 and 4 will be equipped with AP1000 model Generation III+ reactors, which is one of the most advanced nuclear power reactors. It includes steam generators, digital instrumentation and controls, fuel, pressurizers and reactor vessels.

The reactor vessel comprises smaller modules, which are manufactured off-site and then assembled on-site. It has a smaller footprint and the ability to shutdown without human or external intervention.

The  reactor vessels of the two units are 35ft-high and weigh 306t. Heat generated by the vessels through nuclear fission will be converted into electricity by the steam generators.

The plant will also feature cooling towers, which will circulate 160,000 gallons of water a minute to the steam turbine generators. Water requirements of the plant will be fulfilled from the Savannah River.

“The units 3 and 4 will be equipped with AP1000 model Generation III+ reactors.”

Electricity transmission from Vogtle nuclear power plant

A 55-mile (88.5km)-long Thomson-Vogtle 500kV transmission line is being developed from the nuclear plant to Thomson Primary substation located south-east of Thomson in McDuffie County, Georgia, to transmit the electricity generated by the two new units.

The transmission line route will cover Burke, Jefferson, Warren, and McDuffie counties along with the usage of existing transmission line corridors in approximately 13 miles (20.9km) of the route.


The Department of Energy (DOE) provided $6.5bn in loan guarantees to Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power Corporation in February 2014 and $1.8bn in loan guarantees to Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia in June 2015 to support the development of the two units.

Another $3.7bn in loan guarantees was provided by the DOE to the owners of the plant in September 2017 to further support the development of the new units.

Contractors involved

Bechtel was selected as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor as well as project manager by Georgia Power in August 2017. Westinghouse Electric Company was originally contracted for the construction of the project, but replaced by Bechtel after it went bankrupt in 2017.

Morgan Corporation was contracted for carrying out site preparation works for the project, while GE Electric was awarded the contract to supply turbine generators.

South Korean company Doosan Heavy Industries provided the reactor vessels for units three and four.