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First U.S. nuclear reactor scratch-built in decades begins operations

A new reactor began operations on July 31 at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle. Associated Press/Photo by John Bazemore

First U.S. nuclear reactor scratch-built in decades begins operations

Georgia Power Co. on Monday said Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle officially entered commercial service alongside two existing reactors at the facility. It is the first reactor built from scratch in the United States in over 30 years. The unit is expected to produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 500,000 homes and businesses, according to Georgia Power. A fourth unit is currently under construction and is expected to be finished early next year. Nuclear power now makes up about 25 percent of the company’s power generation.

How long did it take to build Unit 3? Construction began in 2009 on the third and fourth reactors at Plant Vogtle. Unit 3 was originally projected to come online in 2016. The estimated total cost to build both units rose from $14 billion when the project began to almost $35 billion. The reactors will be in service for at least six decades, Georgia Power said.

Dig deeper: Read Jordan J. Ballor’s opinion column about how nuclear energy could benefit environmental sustainability.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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