Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion requires 55-mile power line

A $14 billion expansion at Plant Vogtle is also changing 55 miles of Georgia’s rural landscape through the
addition of a major power line.

“The existing transmission system is not adequate to reliably transport additional electrical power from Plant Vogtle to our customers,” Southern Co. spokesman Mark Williams said. “To support the additional generation, Georgia Power’s infrastructure must be upgraded.”

Planners are acquiring rights of way to assemble a continuous swath from the nuclear-power site in Burke County – through Jefferson and Warren counties – to Georgia Power’s Thomson Primary Substation in McDuffie County.

Plant Vogtle’s existing units, which began operating in 1987 and 1989, produce 1,215 megawatts each. The expansion includes adding two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to the site that will produce 1,100 megawatts apiece, for a total increase of 2,200 megawatts.

Williams said the new power line will use about 13 miles of existing transmission line corridors, with the rest of the route being chosen by a Georgia Power committee.

Factors to be considered in choosing a route include community impact, land uses, environmental conditions, construction and maintenance costs, and accessibility.

The new units are scheduled to begin operation in 2016 and 2017.

Georgia Power operates a network of 14 generating plants and 20 hydropower dams that help provide electricity for about 2.25 million customers in 155 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

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