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Vogtle / Georgia Power Announces Further Delays And Capital Cost Increase

By David Dalton
30 July 2021

Georgia Power Announces Further Delays And Capital Cost Increase
File photo from December 2020 of the Vogtle-3 and -4 construction project in the US. Courtesy Georgia Power.
The Vogtle-3 and 4 nuclear power station expansion project in the US state of Georgia has endured delays that will push the projected in-service dates of both units back by close to a year and increase the capital cost to lead utility Georgia Power by more than $9bn.

Georgia Power said the projected in-service date for Unit 3 is the second quarter of 2022 and for Unit 4 the first quarter of 2023, representing a three-to-four-month shift for each unit.

The company has also revised the total project capital cost forecast to reflect this updated schedule, resulting in a $460m increase to Georgia Power.

The company’s share of the total project capital cost forecast is now $9.2bn, although Georgia Power has not sought approval of any capital costs above the $7.3bn previously approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Recent estimates put the overall cost of the project to build two Westinghouse AP1000 plants at close to $28bn.

When construction was approved in 2009, the two 1,117-MW plants were expected to cost about $14bn and enter service in 2016 and 2017.

"We knew building the first new nuclear units in the US in more than 30 years would be challenging,” Georgia Power said. “The project has endured extraordinary circumstances during construction, including the pandemic as the most recent.”

Southern Company, of which Georgia Power is a subsidiary, said last year that the cost of the Vogtle station was growing, partly because of the Covid-19 outbreak and the rising number of workers diagnosed with the virus.

Hot functional testing has been completed at Unit 3 to ensure reactor components and safety systems perform as designed and to confirm the reactor is ready for nuclear fuel load. In early June, Vogtle-4 was brought to initial energisation, meaning plant equipment is permanently powered.

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