Plant Vogtle expansion delayed again

Georgia Power has encountered additional delays in the nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle that will delay the project an additional three to six months.

The utility announced Feb. 17 that the first of two new reactors at the plant won’t be completed until the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2023. The second reactor will follow in the third or fourth quarter of next year.

The delays will add $920 million to the project’s cost, more than doubling the original projected price tag of $14 billion when the Georgia Public Service Commission first approved the project in 2009.

While the first new reactor was 99% complete as of Jan. 31 and the entire project was 96% complete, detailed documentation required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding up the process.

“Our priority is, has been and will continue to be bringing Vogtle Units 3 & 4 safely online – to ‘get it right’ – so that we can provide Georgia with a reliable carbon-free energy resource for the next 60 to 80 years,” Georgia Power spokesman Jeff Wilson said.

The Vogtle expansion has been hit with a series of scheduling delays and cost overruns since work began, prompting environmental and consumer advocates to criticize the project as a waste of money that should have been spent pursuing renewable energy.

Key factors in the delays were the bankruptcy of original prime contractor Westinghouse Electric and, later, disruptions in the schedule due to the impact of COVID-19 on the construction workforce.

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