The cooling towers for Plant Vogtle reactors 3 and 4 rise above the construction sites.
Photo: GEORGIA POWER
Photo: GEORGIA POWER

Georgia regulators delay update on status of troubled nuclear project

Georgia regulators have delayed hearing whether Georgia Power’s troubled and overbudget Vogtle nuclear expansion is falling further behind schedule.

The bulk of the multibillion-dollar project’s ultimate costs would likely fall on customers.

Elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday to postpone the start of a scheduled round of updates and hearings on the project until late August. They also increased funding for more independent monitoring of Vogtle’s progress.

Georgia Power, which is regulated by the PSC, is required to give an update on the Vogtle work every six months and had been slated to do so later this month.

But staff for the PSC, citing its own heavy caseload and the plans for increased Vogtle monitoring, proposed an agreement with Georgia Power to postpone the update. Georgia Power also would report some information from a review of the project by May 15.

Some consumer and environmental organizations warned that delaying information from Georgia Power reduced transparency and set the stage for more spending on a project that is already years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

Georgia Power said in January that “based upon the company’s current analysis, the Vogtle project remains on track” for completion by November 2021 on the first new nuclear unit and November 2022 for the second.

Still, the state’s independent monitors have warned about the potential for more delays and costs. The plant expansion south of Augusta would supply energy to customers in metro Atlanta and throughout the state.

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