PSC consultants say Vogtle nukes no longer ‘economic’ for Ga. Power ratepayers

[private]Consultants monitoring the Plant Vogtle nuclear project have told the Public Service Commission that construction of the reactors is no longer “economic” for Georgia Power’s customers and should not be continued.

In testimony filed last week with the PSC, the consultants said “it appears that it would be uneconomic for the Project to be continued” — it would be better for ratepayers to convert the facility to a natural gas-fired power plant.

This marked the first time since the PSC authorized the project in 2009 that the commission’s outside experts have concluded there is not an economic case for the nuclear reactors to be completed.

The project is already $3 billion over budget and nearly four years behind schedule. The cost overruns forced the primary contractor, Westinghouse Electric, to file for bankruptcy in March and turn over management of the project to Georgia Power.

Georgia Power has already said that converting the reactors to natural gas facilities is one of the options it is considering as it works on its own estimate of the cost to complete Vogtle units 3 and 4.

“Following Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, we are continuing efforts to complete the comprehensive and thorough full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete analysis and will work with the Georgia Public Service Commission to determine the best path forward for our customers,” said company spokesman Jacob Hawkins.

Philip Hayet and Lane Kollen, outside consultants who have been monitoring the financial aspects of the Vogtle project, said in their PSC testimony that the Westinghouse bankruptcy could ultimately add another $3 billion to the project’s cost and delay completion for another 36 months.

“The Project may not be economic to complete depending on the revised schedule and costs to complete the Project, especially if customers are expected to bear the additional costs that Westinghouse would have been responsible for,” Hayet and Kollen said.

The PSC has taken no actions yet to account for the impact of the Westinghouse bankruptcy on the Vogtle project. Commissioners have indicated they are waiting for Georgia Power to submit its cost-to-complete analysis, which won’t happen until later in the summer.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia Power , Plant Vogtle nuclear project , PSC consultants