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Georgia Power completes loading nuclear fuel into Vogtle Unit 3 reactor


The development marks a critical milestone in its testing and commercial operations.

Georgia Power completes loading nuclear fuel into Vogtle Unit 3 reactor
On October 17, Georgia Power said fuel loading into the Vogtle Unit 3 reactor core at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga., has been completed. The fuel loading process is a historic and critical step toward the startup and commercial operation of the first new nuclear units built in the United States in more than three decades.

“The Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear units represent a critical, long-term investment in our state's energy future, and the milestone of loading fuel for Unit 3 demonstrates the steady and evident progress at the nuclear expansion site,” said Chris Womack, Georgia Power’s chairman, president and CEO.

“We're making history here in Georgia and the U.S. as we approach bringing online the first new nuclear unit to be built in the country in over 30 years. These units are important to building the future of energy and will serve as clean, emission-free sources of energy for Georgians for the next 60 to 80 years.”

Southern Nuclear received a historic 103(g) finding from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in August, indicating that the new unit has been constructed and will be operated in accordance with the Combined License and NRC regulations. In the coming days, nuclear technicians and operators from Westinghouse and Southern Nuclear will safely transfer 157 fuel assemblies from the Unit 3 spent fuel pool to the Unit 3 reactor core.

Following that, startup testing will begin, with the goal of demonstrating the integrated operation of the primary coolant system and steam supply system at design temperature and pressure with fuel inside the reactor. Operators will also bring the plant from cold shutdown to initial criticality, connect it to the power grid, and gradually increase power to 100%. Vogtle Unit 3 is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2023.

Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities will operate the new unit on behalf of the co-owners.

The new Vogtle units are an important part of Georgia Power's commitment to providing its 2.7 million customers with clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy. The two new units, which will be clean energy sources that emit no air pollution once operational, are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

A note of caution on the Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information in this release is forward-looking and involves risks and uncertainties because it is based on current expectations and plans. Forward-looking information includes, for example, statements about the expected start-up date for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4.
Georgia Power warns that certain factors can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information provided.

The reader is advised not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond Georgia Power's control; as a result, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized.

In addition to the factors discussed in Georgia Power's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and subsequent securities filings, the following factors could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as implied by such forward-looking information.

The potential effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; the ability to control costs and avoid cost and schedule overruns during the development, construction, and operation of facilities or other projects, including Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which include components based on new technology that only recently began initial operation in the global nuclear industry at this scale, due to current and/or future challenges such as, but not limited to, materials and labor, contractor or supplier delays, delays due to judicial or regulatory action, non-performance under construction, operating, or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, engineering or design problems or any remediation related thereto, design and other licensing-based compliance matters, including inspections and Southern Nuclear's timely submission of the Inspections, Tests, and Certifications.

It also includes, challenges with start-up activities, such as major equipment failure, system integration, and/or operational performance, and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic; the ability to overcome or mitigate the current challenges at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 that could further impact the project's cost and schedule; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to construction projects, such as Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4;

under certain specified circumstances, a decision by holders of more than 10% of the ownership interests in Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 not to proceed with construction and the ability of certain other Vogtle owners to tender a portion of their ownership interests to Georgia Power following certain construction cost increases, including the purported exercise of tender options by Oglethorpe Power Corporation and the City of Dalton and related litigation;

the ability of certain other Vogtle owners to tender a portion of their ownership interests to Georgia Power following certain construction;

the inherent risks of operating and constructing nuclear power plants; the ability of Georgia Power's counterparties to make payments on time and perform as required; the direct or indirect effect on Georgia Power's business resulting from cyber intrusion or physical attack and the threat of physical attack; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health Georgia Power expressly disclaims any obligation to update forward-looking statements.