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Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear power plant faces further construction delays

The only nuclear power plant under construction in the United States faces delays and additional costs. again.

Earlier this week, technical experts working at the Georgia Public Service Commission testified that the launch of the Alvin W. Vogle power plant is likely to be postponed until the summer of 2022, which will cost $ 2 billion more than expected. did.

Southern Co., Ltd.

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The power company, which builds an Atlanta-based nuclear power plant, said it expects the first reactor to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022, a spokeswoman for the company said. Based on current information, he said, “There are still risks to the project.” Also, cost estimates may increase in the future. “

Delays after November 2021 will reduce the regulatory gains that the southern subsidiary Georgia Power receives to build the reactor.

Vogtle has suffered from many delays and cost overruns. Initially planned to go live in 2016, the total cost of the two planned Vogtle reactors will exceed $ 27 billion. That’s more than double the original estimate approved by state regulators in 2008.

The issue of ending Vogtle diminished enthusiasm for being welcomed in the United States ten years ago as a possible nuclear renaissance. Today, near Augusta, Georgia, the facility highlights the financial and industrial difficulties of building a nuclear power plant in the United States and has not completed a new one in 30 years.

Georgia has almost abandoned the project due to cost overruns and delays. In 2017, state officials voted to continue building the reactor, but if it was postponed further, the revenue of Southern’s future projects would be limited. At that time, Southern had a new contractor solve the construction delay. I promised. The utility later claimed revenue and promised to complete and generate electricity for the first of two new reactors by November 2021.

“They will be late and will pay fines,” said Tim Echols, Vice Chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “We thought they would come on time, so we negotiated. I was willing to do it. I think they regret it today. ”

Over the last two years, nuclear reactor work has progressed. Southern conducts so-called hot tests to ensure that everything is working properly in the plant before adding nuclear fuel.

In a Monday filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission, project supervisor Donald Grace said he expected the factory launch to be postponed “about 7-9 months or more.” .. Grace, vice president of engineering for the Vogtle Oversight Group, said he was hired by a public interest officer on the committee, but said the cost of the plant would increase by an estimated $ 2 billion.

He condemned Southern’s decision to accelerate unit testing before most of the construction work was completed: “This makes construction inefficient and costly execution, partial and complete systems. This led to individual testing and retesting of the system, “he testified. He also said that some electrical work would require modifications.

In recent weeks, Southern Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Fanning has postponed the planned start of power generation from November 2021 to early 2022. Safety “If it takes weeks longer than originally planned there is.”

The total cost of the two Vogtle reactors planned will exceed $ 27 billion.


Photo:

Michael Horahan / Associated Press

The only new US nuclear power plant that began this century went bankrupt due to cost overrun. In 2017, Scanner Co., Ltd.

Scanner 3.50%

Withdrew plans to complete a nuclear power plant under construction in South Carolina. When first proposed in 2008, the cost of the VC Summer Nuclear Station was expected to be $ 11.5 billion. Cost estimates have risen to $ 25.7 billion, according to state-owned utility Santi Cooper, a minority owner of the power plant.

Who pays in Palmetto as a side effect from the decision to shut down a nuclear power plant that would pay South Carolina electricity consumers a large bill for a power plant that does not generate electricity It has evolved into a political and financial debate over who should be responsible. For the decision to proceed with the project even if there are signs of trouble.Scanna then agreed to a $ 137.5 million settlement to settle the charges of civil fraud associated with federal accusations of deceiving investors by making false statements about the factory under construction. Scana loses support from state political leaders, Dominion Energy in 2019 Co., Ltd.

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I bought a company.

Despite producing carbon-free electricity, the nuclear industry has been struggling in recent years. Competition with renewable energy and low-cost natural gas-fired power plants has reduced wholesale electricity prices and undermined the economics of existing power plants. Several power plants have been closed and recently Entergy Of a corporation

The Indian Point Energy Center, north of New York City, was completely closed in April.

According to the 2020 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, a widely cited independent industry analysis, 408 reactors were in operation worldwide last year, down from the 2002 peak of 438. According to the report, Russia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Over the last decade, the cost of generating electricity from new nuclear power plants has increased by about 33% and the cost of new solar power has decreased by 90%, reports publisher Mycle Schneider said. “The scissors are getting wider and wider, and there were no signs that this would stop,” he said.

Write to Russell Gold russell.gold@wsj.com

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Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear power plant faces further construction delays

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