2017-08-09 / Front Page

Units 3 and 4 future still unknown

By Diana Royal

While different figures circulate as to what it will cost to complete construction of the two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, Georgia Power says its share alone could increase up to $10.9 billion total.

Last Wednesday, Southern Company, the parent company of Georgia Power, announced its second quarter earnings for 2017, including estimates for both continuing and cancelling the Vogtle project. According to Jacob Hawkins, a spokesperson for Georgia Power, the company’s ongoing cost-to-complete analysis shows capital expenses for Units 3 and 4 could increase anywhere from $6.7 to $7.4 billion. The range, he explained, is based on the actual in-service date of each unit, and also factors in the forecasted settlement agreement with Westinghouse/

Toshiba. For Unit 3, whose last proposed in-service date was June 2019, a February 2021 completion could tack on $3.9 billion and the estimated range goes through a March 2022 in-service date with a cost of $4.6 billion. Unit 4, which was proposed to be completed in June 2020, has a date range of February 2022-March 2023 with an estimated increase of $4.5 billion. The capital costs previously approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission for the new units were $5.7 billion.

Additionally, estimated financing costs could increase from the previous projection of $2.3 billion to approximately $3.1 to $3.5 billion, with around $1.4 billion of that having already been incurred through June 2017.

Should the project be terminated, Georgia Power’s estimated cost to cancel is $6.3 billion.

Hawkins said these figures are preliminary estimates only and that nothing is finalized. He also said the estimates apply only to Georgia Power’s 45.7 percent share of the project, which is co-owned by Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities. Some sources report the continuation of the project could reach more than $25 billion, but Hawkins stated those figures are not Georgia Power’s and cautioned against using them to calculate 100 percent of the project costs. “All coowners have different capital and financing costs,” he said, adding that the comparison is not apples to apples.

While Georgia Power continues to complete its comprehensive schedule as well as cost-to-complete and cancellation cost assessments, all co-owners are performing their own assessments. Georgia Power expects to final its assessments by the end of the month.

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