PSC wants Ga. Power to finish the Vogtle nukes

[private]Public Service Commission members said Tuesday they want Georgia Power and its parent corporation, Southern Co., to finish the construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle — even with the years of delay and billions of dollars in cost overruns.

“We know full well that the current schedule and cost is no longer viable,” Chairman Stan Wise said. But he added, “the commission continues to be supportive of this project as it moves along.”

“I, too, want this project finished,” said Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, who patched in to the commission meeting by telephone. “I don’t like failure, I’d like to see it done, but I’d like to see it done in a very responsible way.”

The five commissioners, who are all Republicans, are undeterred by the recent shutdown of two similar reactors in South Carolina that, like Plant Vogtle, went wildly over budget and lagged far behind schedule.

The PSC voted Tuesday to approve Georgia Power’s expenditure of $222 million in construction costs on Vogtle units 3 and 4 during the July-December 2016 period.

The commissioners also voted to send Georgia Power a list of 14 information items that must be produced by Aug. 31, when the utility is scheduled to file its Vogtle construction cost report for the January-June period of this year.

Georgia Power has already said it will recommend to the commission at that time whether to proceed with the Vogtle reactors or abandon the project whose estimated cost has now ballooned to $25 billion to $27 billion.

That information requested by the PSC includes:

  • The cost to complete the project or cancel it.
  • The options considered by Georgia Power as alternatives to its recommended action.
  • The company’s plan to “protect the interests of customers” after the contract with the forrmer contractor, the bankrupt Westinghouse, is abandoned.
  • The new project management structure in the wake of Westinghouse’s bankruptcy.

When the PSC first approved the Vogtle project in 2009, Georgia Power estimated that the total project would cost $14 billion and the reactors would start generating electricity in 2016 and 2017.

The projected cost of the reactors has now nearly doubled and the start time for operation has been pushed back, at this point, to 2022 and 2023.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia Power , Plant Vogtle , PSC