Maybe renewable energy sources like solar power are not enough to cover our increasing energy demand right now. In the panoramic photo above you can see the housing of a new 1,100 megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor that will help bridge the gap.

The reactor housing–the so called CA04 module–is being placed into the containment vessel inside the Vogtle Unit 4 nuclear island. The Vogtle Plant’s two new units are the first new nuclear reactors to be licensed and under construction in the United States in more than three decades.

Advertisement

Yesterday, on the 24th of June, the Energy Department guaranteed $1.8 billion for the controversial Vogtle project in Georgia. According to the DOE the two new nuclear reactors are going to provide enough electricity for nearly 1.5 million homes and avoid nearly 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year once they come on line. Here are a few notable quotes about the recent announcement:

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz:

The Vogtle project has put the U.S. at the forefront of a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors, incorporating numerous innovations resulting in significant operational and safety improvements, and helping to train a world-class workforce with expertise in building nuclear power plants.

Senator Johnny Isakson:

The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) does tremendous work to advance Georgia’s leadership in America’s nuclear energy production. Nuclear power is a reliable, zero carbon emitting source of energy, and, as I have said repeatedly over the years, nuclear power must be part of the solution if we want to meet the goal of reducing carbon and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Congressman Rick Allen:

Completion of this project will help provide Americans affordable and reliable energy in a safe, cost-effective manner while creating thousands of jobs at home in Georgia.

The first new reactor (Vogtle Unit 3) was planned to be operational by April 2016, but is now supposed to be running by late 2017, followed by the second (Vogtle Unit 4) in late 2018. The following set of images show the main stages of the construction so far.

December 11, 2012: an earth mover works on the new nuclear reactor at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant. One of the plant’s existing reactors is shown in the background.

Photo: John Bazemore/AP


December 11, 2012: part of the containment vessel for a new nuclear reactor at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant is shown under construction.

Photo: John Bazemore/AP


February 15, 2012: the containment vessel bottom for the new reactor head for unit 3 stands under construction at right at the Vogtle nuclear power plant.

Photo: David Goldman/AP


February 15, 2012: a closer look at the new containment vessel bottom head for unit 3

Photo: David Goldman/AP


May 7, 2014: the 1.8 million-pound containment vessel bottom head placed at Vogtle Unit 4.

Photo: Georgia Power


June 13, 2014: construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle. Cooling tower under construction in the background.

Photo: John Bazemore/AP


December 12, 2014: almost finished cooling Tower at Georgia Power’s new Plant Vogtle nuclear site

Photo: Georgia Power


May, 2015: the 225,000-pound Vogtle Unit 4 pressurizer, fabricated in Italy was delivered to the Vogtle nuclear expansion in May.

Photo: Georgia Power


June 12, 2015: the 650-ton Vogtle Unit 3 Steam Generator A, assembled in South Korea and delivered to the Vogtle nuclear expansion site.

Photo: Georgia Power


June 19, 2015: The 64,000-pound CA04 module was placed into the Vogtle Unit 4 nuclear island on Wednesday, June 17 by one of the largest cranes in the world.

Photo: Georgia Power