Critics decry Vogtle 3 fuel load


The following is an August 3, 2022 press release from Nuclear Watch South

Nuclear Watch South remains unequivocally opposed to the Vogtle project and greets the announcement that the NRC has completed its safety review, granting permission to Southern Nuclear to load nuclear fuel in Vogtle 3, with grave trepidation.

Nuclear Watch South Coordinator Glenn Carroll says, “Delays, errors and cost overruns have plagued this failed project from the start of construction. Loading nuclear fuel into this untested reactor design is a risky step that may well proceed similarly, with yet more ominous ramifications upon actual start up. All other such projects have been abandoned — Nuclear Watch South gives a vote of NO CONFIDENCE to the Westinghouse AP1000 or its construction!”

As the environmental group has been showing since 2015, using Georgia Power’s figures published in its annual reports, the power output from this colossal, expensive boondoggle is not needed. Vogtle 3 & 4, if ever brought on line, will add a mere 6-7% to Georgia Power’s bloated power portfolio which already is chronically underutilized by an average of 30% per year. The only clear “benefit” to constructing Plant Vogtle has been to pump up Georgia Power’s profits and in that regard it has been a whopping success as Georgia Power has made more than $12 billion in profit since Vogtle construction began. see:

Ms. Carroll observes, “The revelation of tens of thousands of incomplete inspection records going back how far (no one knows … or at least will say) in the 11th hour leading up to this milestone beggars belief that all aspects of this dangerous reactor have been inspected, tested, and analyzed by the construction contractors, and properly vetted by regulators. It is impossible to overstate how much is at stake when it comes to nuclear safety and if anyone thinks that Chernobyl and Fukushima can’t happen here they could be tragically wrong.”

Despite Georgia Power’s confident announcements, the road to reactor start-up is still long, steep and rigorous. Independent construction monitors have testified that there remains quite a lot of construction that is not on the path to fuel load that must be completed before achieving commercial operation. If and when the nuclear fuel is tested for nuclear criticality, the vast nuclear factory will be irrevocably contaminated, becoming ultimately radioactive waste. Given that power from this expensive white elephant is not needed, Georgians are being tricked into a $30 billion+ obligation that is nothing more than a gratuitous radioactive waste factory putting pressure on an already over-burdened Savannah River and threatening the Georgia countryside and all of its living creatures with the threat of catastrophic radioactive contamination.

Carroll says, “The brief history of nuclear energy includes numerous examples of abandoned reactors. Georgia Power can even now get on the right side of history by abandoning Plant Vogtle and beginning today to deploy solar panels and batteries on the homes and businesses that will use the power. The great state of Georgia deserves a shot at being distinguished for something better than being the last victims of corporate nuclear greed.”

Headline photo of Vogtle 3 under construction by US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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