PSC begins crucial hearings on Vogtle project’s future

[private]The Public Service Commission will hold four days of hearings this week that will center on the question of whether Georgia Power should be authorized to continue with the construction of two over-budget nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

It’s the first part of a two-month process that will determine the future of the nuclear project, which was originally projected to cost $14 billion but now will probably exceed $25 billion or more, according to the latest estimates.

Those cost overruns, along with schedule delays of four to six years, are the major reasons why critics contend the expensive nuclear project should be scuttled.

Georgia Power officials will make the case this week on why they think the project is justified, while PSC staffers will have a chance to weigh in during hearings in December.

Georgia Power is the biggest owner of the two proposed reactors with a 45.7 percent stake. The other partners are Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and the city of Dalton.

Although Georgia Power’s partners have indicated they want the project to continue, they have not made sworn statements to that effect to the PSC.

Representatives of the partner companies will appear before the PSC Monday morning and will be questioned by commissioners, but they “will not be under oath and their statements will not be part of the record,” the commission said.

A similar project in South Carolina involving two nuclear reactors of the same design as Vogtle’s was cancelled July 31 by the partner companies there because the costs had become prohibitive.

Georgia Power, however, wants to continue with the Vogtle construction and wants the PSC to allow it to charge off all the cost overruns to its customers.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Georgia Power , Plant Vogtle , PSC