In a statement, Southern said it made the decision to “preserve the safety and health of the workforce and safety of the facility.” The company said it plans to retain “the necessary work force” to keep running the conventional gas-fired part of the plant.
"We are committed to ensuring the ongoing focus and safety of employees while we consider the future of the project, including any possible actions that may be taken by the Commission," Southern CEO Thomas A. Fanning said in a press release. "We believe this decision is in the best interests of our employees, customers, investors and all other stakeholders."
Georgia Power, Southern’s largest subsidiary, faces similarly big headaches with its project to build two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.
The Vogtle expansion is over three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. More costs and delays are expected after the project’s key contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed bankruptcy in late March.