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Contractors Sue Georgia Power over Nuclear Plant Construction Work

More issues for the nuclear construction project at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

The site’s contractors are suing Georgia Power and the project’s other co-owners in federal court.

Westinghouse and a Shaw Group subsidiary say they are owed tens of millions for unexpected expenses related to a second issue in building out the nuclear site foundation.

The contractors filed the lawsuit last week in federal court.

Georgia Power spokesman Mark Williams downplayed the dispute and said it was a relatively small amount compared to the project’s overall cost of $14 billion.

“Its not unusual to find a project of this magnitude that things like this will arise but progress is still going on at the site, there’s a lot of work being done and will continue to be done.”

The lawsuit indicates the contractors billed Georgia Power and its co-owners nearly $60 million for the extra work. Thirty million was paid. The lawsuit seeks the rest.

The lawsuit comes as Georgia Power and its contractors are disputing at least two other major issues; cost overruns related to a delay in federal licensing and a mistake in the placement of steel bars under the reactor site’s foundation. Ratepayer advocates have estimated those issues could add nearly a billion dollars to the project.

Amanda Hill Atkinson of Georgia WAND, an anti-nuclear advocacy group, says she’s troubled by the growing list of construction issues.

“Here you have a situation where the foundation of the construction is not secure at all, its not safe and when you have fingers pointed at each other, then people suing each other, it brings the concern of is the right oversight occurring,” says Hill.

Georgia Power maintains the project is still on budget. Earlier this summer, company officials said the original completion date for the first unit would be delayed by seven months, from April to November 2016. However, the state’s site inspector has questioned that timeline, citing “poor performance” by Georgia Power’s contractors.

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