GEORGIA (WSAV) – Officials from Georgia Power say that construction deadlines on two new nuclear reactors do not seem feasible and the company is evaluating new completion dates now. The reactors are about three years behind schedule and in February, a new round of completion dates had been set for December of 2019 and September of 2020. But a Georgia Power official told members of the Public Service Commission today those deadlines “no longer seem feasible.”
The completion deadlines have been greatly hampered by an announcement less than two months ago that Westinghouse, which is the designer and builder of the Ap1000 reactor, was filing for bankruptcy.
Testifying before the Public Service Commission, David McKinney, Vice President of Nuclear Development at Georgia Power, said that the company is evaluating its options now. McKinney says the company continues to analyze what new completion costs may be now and also a “cancellation assessment.”
In response to a question from an attorney representing a consumer group, McKinney indicated scenarios and cost analyses are now being considered for 1) completion of both reactors 2) completion of one but not the other and or 3) cancellation.
McKinney indicates the company will not be ready with that recommendation until sometime in June.
The Public Service Commission today is considering whether to approve more than $200 million in construction costs incurred by Georgia Power for the last six months of 2016.
Georgia Power customers have already been charged hundreds of millions of dollars in up front financing costs for the project.
While McKinney indicated in response to a question that “Georgia Power remains convinced that nuclear energy and completion of the reactors would still be good for its customers”, a number of consumers had offered differing viewpoints earlier.
“This is looking like a very expensive train wreck,” one woman from Atlanta said. Another woman addressed the PSC, telling commissioners “when you’re in a hole, stop digging.”
A second Georgia Power official said in response to a question that the thousands of workers on the grounds at Plant Vogtle “remain committed to finishing the project.”
The chair of the Public Service Commission Stan Wise told News 3 at the time of the announcement of Westinghouse’s bankruptcy that the PSC remained hopeful that the Vogtle project could still be completed.