Vogtle Units 3 (left) and 4, July 30, 2015. After 41 months of construction, the project is 39 months behind schedule. Photo by High Flyer, special to Savannah River Site Watch.
Georgia is one state that you would think would be wary of nuclear power economics. The first two reactors at Georgia Power’s Vogtle site, which came online in the late 1980s, were a record 800% over budget.
That is a number that is almost impossible to grasp. Nothing goes 800% over budget–in the real world, projects get cancelled well before reaching that point. Continue reading
Construction site of two new Vogtle reactors. Georgia Power claims they’re 56% finished. This photo, taken March 20, 2014, suggests they’re not nearly that far along….
Just over a week ago we reported that all five reactors now under construction in the U.S. are experiencing delays and cost overruns. At a hearing Tuesday before the Georgia Public Service Commission on construction of Southern Company’s two Vogtle reactors, the Commission’s own experts “reiterated concerns about struggles for the project south of Augusta. Georgia Power customers are already paying for financing of the expansion on their monthly power bills and one expert has said any additional delay could cost the company $2 million a day. Those costs could be picked up by ratepayers.”
The big news of the day–and news that indicates further delays are likely–was that Southern Company’s Georgia Power division has switched suppliers for some of the very large components of the reactors. The company had chosen a modular approach for construction, which it had hoped would result in lower costs and speedier construction. But the company it chose, CB&I, has been both behind schedule and unable to meet quality control standards. Continue reading