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Georgia is now the largest generator of clean energy in the country after power system unit launch

ATLANTA — Georgia’s Plant Vogtle Unit four-nuclear power system entered commercial operation on Monday, feeding the electricity to the grid.

This puts Georgia on the map as the largest generator of clean energy in the entire country.

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Channel 2′s Justin Farmer got never-before access deep inside the newest launch to understand Vogtle’s challenges and opportunities for all Georgians.

“I have to admit I’m not sure I knew who the CEO of the company was, and I certainly never saw myself in this position,” said Georgia Power CEO Kim Greene.

But after 33 years of being a low-level engineer at Plant Vogtle, Greene is now chairwoman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power. She has the distinction of leading the company’s efforts to put Georgia on top of the energy map when it comes to clean energy.

With Greene’s blessing, Channel 2 Action News crews drove two and a half hours away to meet the immense security and protocol involved in stepping foot on the property where some of the potentially most powerful science in the world is being employed.

“To be the home of the largest generator of clean energy in the United States is saying something pretty spectacular,” said Greene.

After cost overruns and delays, Vogtle is the first successfully launched nuclear power plant in the U.S. in more than 30 years.

Vogtle Vice President and Georgia Tech-educated engineer John Williams gave Channel 2 Action News a tour, deeper and deeper into Vogtle.

Farmer said he has interviewed a sitting president inside the White House, but the security at Vogtle was 10 times more intense than what he experienced inside the White House.

“So all of these, operators are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And one week out of every five, they are being, trained to make sure they’re being kept the latest on procedure changes, any, new technology or anything like that,” said the speaker.

In the simplest terms, when atoms are split, instead of a catastrophic explosion like an atom bomb, the release of energy is controlled which heats water, creating steam to turn turbines. Current leaves the generator and hits the grid on its way to you with a zero carbon footprint.

Behind Vogtle’s success, Greene is fielding calls.

“I have, fortunately, had the opportunity to run into many of my peers and a lot of people all over the country who are, quite frankly, talking about Georgia as being the envy of the country right now,” said Greene.

But Vogtle isn’t without its detractors, such as Georgia Watch which says consumers will get on average another $9 bump to their power bills to fund Vogtle. Executive director Liz Coyle admits Vogtle should provide decades of clean energy.

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“Even though it’s seven years late and it’s billions of dollars over budget, hopefully, it will be providing power to Georgians for 60 to 80 years,” said Coyle.

“This is a long-lived asset that will provide value to our customers for 60 to 80 years. And that investment over time, the capital cost and the fuel cost is the best economic choice over that long period of time,” said Greene.

With the artificial intelligence boom and the need for immense power that runs 24/7, Georgia continues to win business relocations because of our access to that energy.

When asked why more companies don’t build nuclear plants, Greene said it’s because they’re often forced to take the short-term, rather than long-term view of what’s best.

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