And Grace said even those estimates could be off if major new issues arise, such as from increased oversight begun by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission after quality and oversight problems were found at the site south of Augusta earlier this year.
Others on the monitoring team agreed with Grace’s overall assessments.
Their projections are for as much as five months of delays beyond Georgia Power’s latest timetable, announced in late October after a string of earlier updates. Until earlier this year the company had been predicting the first new reactor would be producing electricity for Georgians no later than last month.
When Georgia Power launched the project, it had said the first reactor would be in place by the spring of 2016, followed by the final reactor a year later.
The total capital costs for Georgia Power and its partners have risen to $19.5 billion, but Grace predicted the costs could go up another billion dollars. Not included in that estimate: billions of dollars in financing costs that have been or will be picked up by customers of electric utilities.
PSC staff and monitors have for years predicted rising costs and delays, even as Georgia Power repeatedly waved off such warnings only to later revise its own estimates.
Grace said the latest expectations for more delays and higher costs are “largely attributable to the more recently discovered construction quality issues.”
And “there are many performance issues that need improvement” on work on the second new reactor.