Friday is a key deadline for Georgia Power. The company worked out a deal to keep construction going on its two new nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. That’s as Westinghouse, which is the lead contractor, has begun bankruptcy proceedings. That deal was extended at the end of April, and now expires Friday night.
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About 6,000 workers have continued coming to work on the expansion, said David McKinney, Vice President of Nuclear Development at Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power.
“The workforce there has been able to focus on the work, despite all the noise around the bankruptcy,” he said at a hearing on Thursday with state utility regulators.
The hearing was really about construction progress and spending before the bankruptcy. But the uncertain future of the plant was hard to ignore.
“During the month of April, which is basically the month since the bankruptcy occurred, Georgia Power spent about $50 million,” he said.
A small group of activists, many of whom are regulars at these hearings, called for the cancellation of the project.
Robert Searfoss said he’s angry that Georgia Power customers are paying for the power plant, even as it’s delayed and costs rise.
“This is a financial disaster,” he said before the hearing. “This is a massive mess.”
Georgia Power said the most recent completion dates for the two new nuclear power units, in 2019 and 2020, will not be met.
The expansion of Plant Vogtle was already years behind-schedule and billions of dollars more expensive than Georgia Power had originally expected.
Georgia Power says it’s looking at whether to keep building all of the plant, or take another approach, and will announce that decision in June.