Ga. Power wants to continue with Vogtle nuke project

[private]Georgia Power told the Public Service Commission Thursday it wants to continue with the construction of two additional nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, despite more than $3 billion in cost overruns and five to six years of schedule delays.

The PSC had earlier ordered the utility giant to file its recommendation by Aug. 31 on a project that critics contend has become a costly boondoggle.

The Vogtle reactors are the last nuclear project still underway in the U.S. after the announcement by Duke Energy Corp. on Monday that it will cancel a planned nuclear plant in South Carolina.

In shutting down its project, Duke Energy cited the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric, a key contractor whose financial troubles also burdened the Vogtle project.

Georgia Power nevertheless wants to continue with Vogtle and has a supportive PSC that is apparently willing to back them every step of the way, no matter how expensive the project gets. From an original estimate of $14 billion, the cost of Vogtle has now ballooned to more than $25 billion and could hit $27 billion.

“We have seen a marked increase in productivity throughout this year, with the best improvement being the most recent improvement, and our experience provides every indication that we can do a better job than Westinghouse alone as we move forward to complete the project,” Georgia Power President Paul Bowers said.

“Since Southern Nuclear assumed control of the site from Westinghouse at the end of July, momentum has accelerated with a consistent focus on safe, high-quality construction. We expect this trend to continue with Bechtel,” Bowers said.

Georgia Power indicated in its filing that it has the backing of its partners on the Vogtle project:  Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power, and Dalton Utilities.

The PSC said it will review the filing in a process that will last into February.

Georgia Power’s recommendation was cheered by Gov. Nathan Deal, who said in a statement: “I’m extremely pleased to learn the co-owners of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 have recommended completion of construction. Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities have made the right decision for our state.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Georgia Power , Plant Vogtle , PSC