Vogtle Electric Generating Plants with the original units 1 & 2 in the background, and units 3 & 4 expansion in the foreground
U.S. energy company Southern Co on Thursday stuck with the previously announced timing and cost estimates for its Georgia Power utility’s share of two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia.
The Vogtle plant reactors, which are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, are the only nuclear power units under construction in the United States.
In an investor presentation, Southern forecast Georgia Power’s costs would remain at around $10.59 billion, the same as the prior forecast in its fourth-quarter results in February.
Southern also stuck to the previously announced in service dates for the new reactors of May, or June, of 2023 for Unit 3 and late in the fourth quarter of 2023 to the end of the first quarter of 2024 for Unit 4.
The company said Unit 3 was “progressing through final start-up testing and commissioning.” Unit 3 reached initial criticality and synched to the power grid over the past couple of months.
When Georgia approved the Vogtle expansion in 2009, the two 1,117-megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 reactors were expected to cost about $14 billion in total for all owners and enter service in 2016 and 2017.
Some analysts have estimated total costs, including financing, have ballooned to more than $30 billion following delays related to the pandemic, the nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima plant in 2011 and the 2017 bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the project’s former contractor.
The Vogtle owners include Georgia Power (45.7%), Oglethorpe Power Corp (30%), Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%).
Oglethorpe and Dalton have said they wanted to freeze their spending on the project.