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Local and National Leaders Celebrate ‘Momentous’ Opening of Vogtle Units 3 and 4

Local and National Leaders Celebrate ‘Momentous’ Opening of Vogtle Units 3 and 4

Published 06-05-24

Submitted by Southern Company

Southern Company

Local and national leaders, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, congratulated and celebrated alongside Southern Company, Georgia Power and other partners over several days last week to mark the opening of Units 3 and 4 at the Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia.

The celebrations capped decades of work and determination that resulted in the largest generator of clean energy in the U.S.

With all four nuclear units now in operation, Plant Vogtle is expected to produce more than 30 million megawatt hours of electricity each year. The plant is operated by Southern Nuclear on behalf of the co-owners including Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities. Nuclear energy is the only zero-carbon emission baseload energy source available today – offering high reliability and efficient operations around the clock – and, for 2023, provided more than 25% of Georgia Power's generation, including Plant Vogtle and Plant Hatch in Baxley, Georgia.

“This is history being made right before our very eyes,” Governor Kemp said to a standing-room crowd of dignitaries, company executives, customers and plant workers. “Vogtle 3 and 4 doesn’t just represent an incredible economic asset for our state and a milestone for our entire country, they also stand as physical examples of something that I remind myself of every day: Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

The Governor’s sentiments were echoed by Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “Today is a momentous occasion as we celebrate this accomplishment,” Womack said during Friday’s celebration. “We have proven in the United States that we can do hard things. We can build big things. We can build new nuclear in the United States.”

Kemp and Secretary Granholm were among many to praise Georgia Power, Southern Company, Southern Nuclear and the project’s other partners for their determination to complete the project through many challenges.

“Southern Company and Waynesboro have led the way here,” said Granholm, who traveled from Washington D.C. to be part of the occasion along with Ali Zaidi, the White House’s national climate advisor. “Years of persistence got us to this moment. The road hasn’t been easy, but the good times and the hard times are a down payment on 80 years of 24/7 clean power.”

Other dignitaries visiting the plant during the week of celebration included two former United States Secretaries of Energy – Dr. Ernie Moniz and Dan Brouillette – as well as U.S. Rep. Rick Allen. Also attending was FERC Chairman Willie Phillips; Jigar Shah, the Director of the Loan Programs Office for the U.S. Dept. of Energy; the Georgia Public Service Commission; partners in the Building Trades – Sean McGarvey representing NABTU and the IBEW and Brent Booker, former Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning; and scores of additional state, county and local officials. 

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

Along with providing a new source of clean, reliable energy for Georgia residents and businesses, the construction of the new units at Plant Vogtle has provided billions of dollars of positive economic impact for the state and local communities.

“Plants like this are economic magnets, because clean 24/7 power is now irresistible to companies looking to build big manufacturing facilities, big data centers and those facilities mean even more jobs and even greater opportunities and that means an influx of tax dollars,” Granholm said.

For Kemp, the two new units, which can produce enough electricity to power an estimated 1 million homes and businesses, make it easier to attract new business to the state, such as Hyundai Motor Group, which broke ground on a $5.5 billion manufacturing plant in Bryan County, near Savannah, in October 2022.

“Businesses want to know that our state can handle their power consumption,” the Governor said. “We can confidently answer ‘yes’.”

Chris Smith, chief project implementation officer for Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, said the company selected Georgia for its new electric vehicle and battery plant because of its commitment to a clean energy future. The company visited 13 potential sites in seven states before choosing Georgia.

“Ultimately, we selected Georgia and Bryan County because the state’s clean energy goals aligned with our goals,” Smith said. “It makes us proud to be part of this historic moment and to be part of Georgia’s clean energy history.”

While driving to the site for the celebration, Kim Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, recalled getting emotional at the sight of all four Vogtle cooling towers functioning at the same time against a clear, blue Georgia sky.

“This is something all Georgians can be very proud of,” Greene said with a smile. “It’s something that we need to soak in, reflect on and feel proud of. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, something that nobody else was able to do. We are special and we deserve to feel proud of this accomplishment.”

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Southern Company

Southern Company

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a leading energy provider serving 9 million customers across the Southeast and beyond through its family of companies. Providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy with excellent service is our mission. The company has electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company, a leading distributed energy distribution company with national capabilities, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, resilience and sustainability, we are taking action to meet customers' and communities' needs while advancing our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and are the key to our sustained success. We are transforming energy into economic, environmental and social progress for tomorrow. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have earned the company national awards and recognition from numerous organizations, including Forbes, The Military Times, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, J.D. Power, Fortune, Human Rights Campaign and more. To learn more, visit

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