Vogtle costs to go up by $1.1 billion, Georgia Power says

Georgia Power now says the cost to complete construction at the twin Vogtle nuclear units will go up by $1.1 billion, heightening concerns about the economics of the project.

In a statement early Wednesday, the company said Southern Nuclear which has been managing the project for over a year revised the estimate cost to complete the project from $7.3 billion to $8.4 billion.

“As work continued at the site uninterrupted during the transition from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear, project leadership made a series of decisions, such as providing craft labor incentives to both attract and retain adequate staffing levels and increased field supervision and engineering oversight, in an effort to lower project risk and maintain project momentum,” a company statement said of the changes.

Georgia Power said the additional costs will be absorbed by the company and will not be handed down to the customers.

The cost to complete the nuclear units in Burke County has nearly doubled since project certification in 2009, with construction delays, hiring issues and most recently a stand down at the plant raising concerns about the viability of the project.

Georgia Power says the project is still on track for completion in November 2021 and 2022.

According to the company officials, the revised cost includes $700 million in actual project costs and an increased contingency cost of $400 million.

Georgia Power said the contingency cost may later be presented to the PSC for “evaluation as and when appropriate in the future.”

Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers acknowledged the project’s challenges but said his company remained focused on reducing the risks associated with the project.

“Our responsibility is to our customers first and we are accountable to them for this project and committed to ensuring that our state has affordable and reliable energy today and for generations to come,” said Bowers.