- Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power filed its recommendation to complete work on two new nuclear reactors on the Vogtle facility despite spiraling costs and delays in the projected in-service date.
- Georgia Power's analysis included economic analysis; evaluating alternatives such as converting the units to gas-fired generation or abandoning them; and assumptions that include Toshiba's future payments, production tax credits and extension of loan guarantees from the Department of Energy.
- Total costs of the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion is likely to top $25 billion dollars and could reach over $27 billion, Southern Co. previously told the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Georgia Public Service Commission will make the final decision.
Southern officials want to continue moving forward with the Vogtle expansion, a bold move after South Carolina utilities chose to abandon the construction at VC Summer facility, and Duke Energy pulled the plug on two proposed nuclear projects in the past two weeks.
Earlier this month, Georgia regulators appeared to signal their support after voting on an order that requires Georgia Power to address more than a dozen issues, including the schedule, costs and whether the commission should approve more revisions. The utility addressed those concerns as part of its latest construction monitoring report.
Georgia Power has previously indicated it expects to pay between $9.8 billion and $10.9 billion for its 45.7% share of the Vogtle plant, taking into account guarantee obligations from Toshiba. The utility announced that it has contracted with construction firm Bechtel to manage daily construction efforts.
The owners wouldn't pay all of the final total themselves. In June, Toshiba agreed to pay the owners $3.68 billion whether the plant is completed or not. Its subsidiary, Westinghouse, was a main contractor on both the Vogtle and Summer plants and went bankrupt earlier this year amid delays and cost overruns at the plants.
Southern is also banking on loan extensions from the DOE and nuclear production tax credits. The House Ways and Means Committee at the U.S. House of Representatives cleared a bill that would extend a 2020 deadline for a nuclear energy tax credit under development.
And E&E News reports Southern CEO made roughly six visits to the DOE between February and July of this year.
If the PSC approves the recommendation, Southern expects to finish Unit 3 of Vogtle between Feb. 2021 and March 2022. Unit 4 would be finished between Feb. 2022 and March 2023. The utility owns the lion's share of the Vogtle plant and three municipal utilities — Oglethorpe Power (30%), MEAG Power, (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%) — own the remaining shares.