Environment, Science

Georgia Power Reviews Costs As Work At Plant Vogtle Continues

Westinghouse blamed cost overruns at Plant Vogtle and another project in South Carolina for its financial problems.
Westinghouse blamed cost overruns at Plant Vogtle and another project in South Carolina for its financial problems.
Credit David Goldman / associated press file
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Georgia Power is reviewing how much it will cost to finish building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. It’s also looking at what it would cost not to complete the project, or to go in a different direction, like converting to natural gas.

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That’s after the main contractor, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, thanks to cost overruns at Vogtle and at another nuclear project in South Carolina.

State regulators met Thursday for the first time since the bankruptcy filing to discuss the future of the nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle, which is near Augusta.

“Every option is on the table,” Kevin Greene, an attorney for Georgia Power, told the Georgia Public Service Commission. “In the meantime, progress on the site continues. It’s at a quickened pace.”

Opponents of the project say they’re worried no matter what happens, Georgia Power customers will end up paying more on their electric bills.

“We are extremely concerned and see no option ahead that does not further impact the rates that Georgia Power customers, residential customers in particular, are going to be paying,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch.

The units under construction at Plant Vogtle are the first two new nuclear reactors to be built in the United States in decades. Georgia Power, along with Oglethorpe Power Corporation Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the City of Dalton, began construction in 2013. One unit was initially planned to be online and generating electricity by now. Both are currently scheduled to be completed 2019 and 2020.