- Consultants monitoring the construction of two new reactors at the Vogtle nuclear facility in Georgia say the in-service dates for units 3 and 4 will be another year late, potentially adding more than $1 billion to the project cost.
- Consultants to the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) now say "schedule mitigation" activities like 24/7 work and an increase of contractors and vendors have failed to keep lead contractors Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. on schedule.
- The PSC approved pushing the original in-service dates of early 2016 and 2017 for the $15 billion undertaking to 2017 and 2018 earlier this year. That increased the estimated cost to Georgia Power, which owns 45.7% of the project, from $6.1 billion to $6.7 billion.
The projected in-service dates are now estimated to be at least 300 days to 400 days later than previously revised in-service dates of 2017 and 2018. A delay to 2019 and 2020 would bring the total cost to the utility to an estimated $7.8 billion.
Critics have long argued that nuclear power is an impractical emissions-free generation option because of out-of-control costs, protracted construction times, risks of Fukushima-like incidents, and the lack of a place to safely store nuclear waste.
The first two of those criticisms are validated by delays and increasing costs to Dominion Virginia for a similar expansion at its Summer facility and to Georgia Power and partners Oglethorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and the city of Dalton, Ga., on Vogtle.
The failure to provide and maintain an accurate project schedule "runs counter to any prudent project management, nuclear or otherwise," according to the PSC consultants.